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Full text of "A defence of the constitutions of government of the United States of America : against the attack of M. Turgot in his letter to Dr. Price, dated the twenty-second day of March, 1778."

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OF Till 



Accession No. 

3 6'7 Class No. ' 

L -/ 

University of California Berkeley 



D E F E N C E 

' - x' 





I N 'H I S 




PRESIDENT O$ iffl* i*tiPr$D STATES* 



Some philofophers have been fooliih enough to imagine, that 
improvements might be made in the fyftem of the univerfe, 
by a different arrangement of the orbs of heaven ; and politi- 
cians, equally ignorant, and ecmally prefumptuous, may eafily 
be led to fuppofe, that the happinefs of our world would 
be promoted by a different tendency of the human mind. 













P I S T O I A. 

My dear Sir, Oftober 4, 1787. 

THE Roman republic, according to its cuf- 
tom * of placing judges in all places under 
its dominion, fent to Piftoia a pretor who had 
the whole jurifdi&ion, civil and criminal, over the 
city ; referving always, according to the tenor of 
the Roman laws, the obedience to the magiftrates 
of that commonwealth. This jurifdi&ion, acqui- 
red by the Roman Republic over the city of Pif- 
toia, patTed to the Roman emperors, and from 
fthefe into the power of the Goths and the Lom- 
bards, and fucceffively in thofe who, from time to 
time, were the Lords (fignore) of Tufcany ; and 
has continued, down to our times, under the fame 
tie and obligation of dependence. It is very true, 
that the province being liberated from the govern- 
ment of foreign nations, and its governors (domi- 
natori) having permitted the people to make laws 

* Memorie Storiche della citta di Piftoia, raccolte da Jaco- 
po Maria Fioravanti, nobile Patrizio Piftorefe. Edit. Lucca, 
1 758, cap. ii. p. 15, 

VOL. III. B and 

2 Piftoia. 

and create magiftrates, the authority became di- 
vided : hence when the conceffion was made to 
the Piftoians to create magiftrates, take the name 
of confuls, and form the general council of the 
people, they were permitted to expedite, by the 
authority of thefe, many things in their city; re- 
ferving always, neverthelefs, the fovereignty to 
their lords. This coriceffion of governing them- 
ielves by their own laws, obtained by the pro- 
vinces of Italy, was the mere liberality of Charle- 
main*, at a time when, having delivered them 
entirely from the government of the barbarians, he 
placed them under the command of one of his 
royal minifters, with the title of marquis, or of 
duke. Under this fyftem of government was 
comprehended Tufcany, which had its dukes and 
marquiffes, who governed it. But as it was the 
cuftom of Charlemain, and, long after him, of 
his fuccefTors, to fend to the cities of this pro- 
vince two fubaltern minifters, one with the name 
of caftaldo, or governor, and the other with that 
of count, which is as much as to fay, judge of the 
city, who held his courts of juftice either alone, 
or in conjunction with the caftaldo, and very often 
with the bifhop of the place, as the bifhops were 
afiTeflbrs and officers, deputed as vaffals of the 
king or the emperor ; fo the city of Piftoia was 
a long time ruled and governed by this order of 
caftaldi and counts. Otto the fecond, having 
afcended the imperial throne, and -having conduct- 
ed, with little good fortune, 'the affairs of Italy, 
the people began to think it lawful to lofe their 
refpecl, and to fail in their veneration, for the im- 
perial commands, and the cities advancing in their 
inclination for liberty, many of them began to 

. * Sigonius, de Regno Italic, lib. iv. 


Fioravanti. 3 

re-aHume the title of confuls, which had been ex- 
tinct under the Longobards ; and if thefe had 
fomewhat of a greater authority, they were not, 
neverthelefs, exempt from the jurifdittion of the 
dukes and marquifles, or from the fovereignty of 
the kings and emperors. 

A greater fpirit of independence arifing in the 
minds of the Italians, in the time of thofe great 
difcords between the empire and the church, di- 
minimed to fuch a degree the efteem of the people 
towards the emperors, folemnly excommunicated 
by the pontiffs, that a great part of the cities of 
Italy, eftranging themfelves by little and little 
from their obedience, began to conduct themfelves 
like independent flates, in entire freedom. This 
happened in the time of Henry the Fourth and 
the Fifth ; and the difobedience increafed ftill 
more, when all the Tedefque forces were engaged 
to fuftain, in Germany, the competition between 
Lothario the Second and Conrod the Swede for 
the throne of Casfar. Then the cities, taking-ad- 
vantage of the diftance of thofe who had power to 
bridle their arrogance, began to be infolent* : then 
they began to lift up their heads, and to do what- 
ever feemed good in their own eyes : then they 
thought it lawful to appropriate to themfelves 
many of the regalia belonging to their fovereign ; 
and believing themfelves able to make off the 
yoke of fuperiority, they attended to nothing but 
to their prefent advantage, and to .dilate the limits 
of their ufurped liberty. But with all this, they 
were never able to extinguifh the quality of their 
fubjedion, nor the obligation of dependence ; for 
Frederick the Firil pafled over to eftablifh and re- 

* His diebus, propter abfentiam regis, Italiae urbibus, in 
infolentiam decedentibus. Ottone Frifmgenfe. 


4 ' Pi/tola. 

gulate, in the convention of Conftance, their pri- 
vileges, and the regalia which were then ufurped : 
and the people were held to an annual cenfus*, 
and obliged to perform certain royal and perfonal 

In the twelfth century, the cities, after the fimi- 
litude of ancient Rome, all re-aflumed the title 
of confuls, and began, fome fooner and others 
later, to make their proper ftatutes, and eftablifli 
their popular government. Though it is not pof- 
fible to afcertain the precife time when the infti- 
tution of confuls was firft made in Piftoia, they 
are, neverthelefs, found named in the flatutes of 
1107; and of thefe there were two, called the 
Conful of the Soldiers, and the Conful of Juftice, 
taken from the nobility of the place, and were 
called the Greater Confuis, to diftinguifli them 
from the plebeian confuls* of the fecond clafs, call- 
ed the Lefler Confuls, or Confuls of the Mer- 
chants, taken from the common people. Their 
authority, and fometimes their numbers were va- 
rious ; but there ought ever to be one more of 
the popular than of the greater confuls f . The 
election of thefe magiftrates was made every year 
by the people, with the intervention of all the go- 
vernors, (rettori) of the arts of the city ; and they 
governed, with the council of an hundred of the 
better fort of citizens, adminiftering juftice both 
to the laity and the ecclefiaftics. This council, 
befides its extraordinary affemblies, was obliged to 
meet in the months of March, May, July, and 
September, after a previous intimation given by 
the confuls, of the bufmefs to be done ; and for 
the refult of this affembly all determinations, 
*. . 

* Sigonius, lib. xiii. de Regno Italic* 

f Unus plus de popularibus quam de majoribus. 


Fhravanti. 5 

upon things of moil importance, muft wait ; 
and all laws, refolutions, and deliberations, 
firft propofed and digefted in the fmaller coun- 
cil, by the few, muft be here confirmed or re- 

Here again is a conftitution of all authority in 
one afiembly. The council of an hundred was 
fovereign. The confuls, though they had the 
command of the army, and the judgment of caufes, 
could do nothing in adminiflration by themfelves, 
or with advice of their little council. They had 
no negative upon any deliberation or refolution of 
the great council : and, on the other hand, the 
people had no negative, not even the poor protec- 
tion of a tribunitian veto. Accordingly *^e read, 
in the next paragraph, that the power of the 
people having fo greatly increafed, by means of 
their ufurped liberty, fo many factions had arifen, 
and feparated intofo numerous divifions, and all 
had become fo much the more intractable and fedi- 
tious, and the ftimulus of power was become the 
greater, that the emperor Frederick the Firft, in 
1155, after having reduced to his obedience Mi- 
lan, and received the oaths of fidelity from all the 
other cities of Italy, and, among the reft, from 
all thofe of Tufcany, judged it necefTary, to ob- 
viate the continual tumults which arofe, to infti- 
tute the office and dignity of podefta, and to fend 
to the government <?f thofe cities gentlemen, from 
among the foreign nobility, with that title. This 
commiffion of podefta operated to the damage and 
diminution of the influence of the confuls, be- 
caufe in this magiftrate was veiled the whole ju- 
dicial power, both in private and civil caufes, and 
in thofe which were public and criminal; and 
therefore the podefta was the ordinary judge in the 


6 ', Pijhia. 

city*, with full power, dominion, and authority 
to govern, command, and chaftife, granted to him 
by the emperor, to whom, as their legitimate fo- 
vereign, the people had recourfe in cafes of appeal, 
and in all denials of juflice. 

From its fubjection to this minifter, in the ear- 
Heft times of the inftitution of his office, the city 
of Piftoia was ftill more irritated and opprefied ; 
and, as the nomination was referved directly to 
the fovereign, the officer was changed as often as 
the times feemed to him to require. The rigour 
of this inftitution was foftened by length of time 
and continual difcords and difienfions, till the city 
of Piftoia acquired the right of the election of this 
minifter, who obliged himfelf in many things, to . 
follow the various ordinances and refolutions of 
the confuls. This election of the podefta was 
made by the Piftoians in virtue of a municipal 
law confented to by the fovereign ; the perfon 
elected flood in office only fix months, and was 
chofen by the council of the people, as it was 
called, that is, the council of an hundred, with the 
intervention of all the rectors of the chapels, and all 
the rectors of the arts. The podefta was bound 
to conduct witlrhim, judges fkilful in the laws, 
notaries, two companies of militia, horfes, and fer- 
vants, and other followers ; and in all things were 
thefe officers obliged to render their accounts. It 
was cuftomary to confer this dignity of podefta 
upon the primary citizens. Neither the confuls 
nor podefta, jointly or feverally, had authority to 
impofe taxes, confent to war, peace, truce, or al- 
liance, without the council of the people, which 

* Con tutta la balia, impero, e potefta di governare, co- 
mandare, e caftigare. Fioravanti, p. 18. 


Fioravanti. >j 

confifted of an hundred citizens, elected in the 
proportion of five and twenty for each of the four 
gates or quarters of the city, with the intervention 
of all the rectors of the chapels, and rectors of the 
arts : or, in other words, the podefta, confuls, 
council of an hundred, and rectors of the chapels 
and arts, were all collected in one affembly, to de- 
tefmine on grants for money, peace, war, truce, 
alliance, &c. and all queftions were determined 
by the vote of the majority, which rieceflarily made 
that tempeftuous and capricious government in 
one centre, againft which we contend. 

And to the podefta, for his regulation in the 
exercife of his office, were given by the city four- 
teen counfellors, and two judges ; one de lege, 
that is to fay, a doctor of law ; the other ex ufu, 
or de ufu, which fignified, as they interpreted the 
words, a protector of the commons ; and two ad- 
vocates for arguing each caufe : and by the opi- 
nion of all thefe he decided upon thofe things which 
affected the honour or utility of the public, as he 
himfelf, after having made his election of thefe at- 
tendants, was obliged to ftand by their advice*. 
This Podefta, in early times, fuperintended not 
only the fecular government, but the ecclefiafti- 
cal : but in procefs of time the city became go- 
verned by three, namely, the confuls, the podefta, 
and the bifhops ; for the bifhops had profited of 
the violent dilfenfions that prevailed in the city, 
to draw to themfelves Various rights and jurifdic- 
tions, as has happened in other nations. The 
lordfliip of the podefta, therefore, having thrown 
down the authority of the confuls ; thefe were no 

* His oath was, Et petam a confiliariis toto tempore mei 
dominii de rebus, quae mihi videbuntur expe&are ad commu- 
nem honorem et utilitatem, noftraa civitatis JPiftorii. Fiora- 
vanti, p. 1 8, 19. 


8 Piftoia. 

longer appointed, at lead are not found in the re- 
cords, till the time when the office of captain of 
the people was created. This inftitution in Pif- 
toia happened when the Guelph party, by an in- 
creafe of their numbers and ftrength, acquired the 
fuperiority of the Ghibellines; at which time, with 
a great concourfe and tumult of the people, the 
lordfhip was taken from the podefta, nothing w*as 
left him but the burden of hearing and determin- 
ing civil caufes, and the twelve anziani of the 
people were inftituted, and the authority of the 
confuls was transferred to them. 

The lafl appearance of the confuls in the re- 
cords of Piftoia is in 1248, and the firft of the 
captain of the people in 1267 ; when it is faid in 
the ftatue, that the captain of the people was the 
fir (I ruler of the city, and the primary defender of 
its rights, and that he ought chiefly to watch over 
the confervation of the peace ; that he was the 
judge of appeals, and of all caufes in the fecond 
inftance ; that he had cognizance of crimes ; 
that he governed with fupreme authority, united 
with that of the anziani ; that he kept a court, of 
the fame kind as that of the podefta, but more 
numerous ; and that the city gave him, for orna- 
ment and defence, three hundred of the beft and 
ableft men, who, taking an oath of fidelity to* 
him, flood continually in his fervice*. The elec- 
tion of this ruler was to be made by the anziani, 
in the perfon of fome foreigner, and not of any 
citizen of Piftoia. Notwithftanding that fome of 
the primary citizens did in fact obtain this office, 
as appears by the records, the anziani were 

* Volumus quod eligaritur 300 boni homines 'de popolo 
Piilorienfe, de melioribus et potentioribus, pro manutentione 
et defenfione capitanei. Rubrica cento delle Legge del 1274* 


fworn not to elecl: any man of Tufcany, or Pif- 
toia, its diftridt, or other place adjoining to the 
city or its bifhoprick. The words of the law, in 
the twelfth rubrick of 1267, are, " Nos anthiani 
populi Piftorienfis, juramus, fine aliquo intelledu 
nobis dato, vel dando eligi, vel eligi facere nobis, 
ob Pift. unum bonura et virum prudentem ma- 
jore 30 ann. in noftrum capitaneum populi devo- 
tum, et fidelem ecclefias, qui non fit de civitate 
Piftorii, vel diftri&u, et qui non fit de Tufcia .... 
Vel de aliqua terra, quas confinet cum civitate, vel 
epifcopatu, vel diflridu Piftorii." And this dig- 
nity of captain of the people was in fuch reputa- 
tion, that, in many places, princes were chofen, 
and fometimes even the pontiffs ; and fuch per- 
fonages, by means of their vicars, often exercifed 
ir. The captain of the people, therefore, being 
the confervator of the peace, and the defender of 
the rights of the city, the Piftoians, to give hini 
a ftrong arm to bridle thofe who had unquiet and 
reftlefs brains, thought it neceflary to create cer- 
tain companies of armed men, who, at the found 
of a bell, mould be obliged to run together into 
the piazza, there to receive and execute the orders 
which fhould be given them by this officer and 
the anziani, without whofe permiflion they were 
not allowed to depart. Thefe companies were 
called by the name of the Equeftrian and Pedef- 
trian Orders, becaufe they were compofed both of 
horfemen and footmen. Thefe companies were 
afterwards augmented to twelve, in the proportion 
of three for each quarter, which embraced an in- 
finite number of people ; and every company had 
two captains, one gonfalonier, whofe office was to 
carry the ftandard of his company, and four coun- 
fellors : and it was the duty of the captain of the 
people to procure the election of thefe officers, as 

C is 

io Piftoia. 

is afTerted in the ftatute of 1267, rubrick 19: 
" Teneatur capitaneus del popolo, primo menfe 
fui regiminis, eligi facere duos capitaneos, unum 
gonfalonerium, et quatuor confiliarios pro quali- 
bet compagnia civil. Pifh pro fa&is ipfms com- 
pagniae." _And in the additional laws of 1286, 
eight priors were added to thefe companies, two 
for each quarter ; and other orders were made for 
the good regulation of this militia. 

The twelve anziani were created with the fame 
authority and full power which the confuls had 
held ; but the precife year when the former were 
appointed and the latter laid afide, cannot be af- 
certained. The laft memorial on record of the 
confuls is in 1 248 ; the firft of the anziani in 1 263 ; 
fo that the change muft have been made in the 
courfe of thefe fifteen years. The number of 
members of which the new magiftrature was com- 
pofed, appears by a law of 1267 : " Ordinamus 
quod 1 2 anthiani populi civit. Pift. fint et efle de- 
beant in civitate Piftoria," Thefe twelve magif- 
trates were renewed every two months ; and after- 
wards, as appears by a. law of 1277, it was efta- 
blimed, that the anzianate fhould not continue 
longer than one month ; and this magiflrature of 
the anziani was elected by a council of the people 
of two hundred, by the rectors of the arts, and by 
their counfellors, and by the captains, gonfalo- 
niers, and counfellors of the companies of the 
people, and by the anziani pro tempore. The 
head of the anziani was, in the primitive times, 
called prior, and not gonfalonier. The prior 
being the firft dignity among the anziani, each 
member enjoyed it in rotation for an equal number 
of days, as the prefident's chair of the States Ge- 
neral is filled by all the members in turn for one 
week, at the Hague. This prior had great autho- 

Fioravami. c i i 

iity, as appears by a law of 1267, written in the 
37thrubrick: " Anthiani teneantur facere, etfa- 
ciant inter fe, unum priorem de ipfis anthianis ad- 
jecturn ipfis, ficut eis videbitur de tempore, cui 
cseteri anthiani pareant, et parere debeant, et obe- 
dire ; et qui contrafecerit puniatur a priore anthi- 
anorum." Although the name of gonfalonier ap- 
pears in the records of fome of thefe years, yet 
certainly he was not the head of the anziani, but 
of the arts : thus, in the law of 1283. " Item ca- 
pitaneus debeat fpendere et affignare gonfalonem 
gonfaloneriis electis, vel eligendis, ab unaquaque 
arte et populo . . . . ita quod unaquseque.ars fuos 
gonfalonerios et officiates habeat." From this it 
clearly appears, that thefe gonfaloniers were the 
heads of the arts, and not of the fupreme magif- 
trature of the anziani ; which gonfaloniers were 
elected by the council of the people of two hun- 
dred, by the rectors of the arts, and by their coun- 
fellors, and by the captains, gonfaloniers, and 
counfellors of the companies of the people, and by 
the anziani for the time being. Thefe anziani, 
fitting together with the captain of the people, 
and the general council of the people, promul- 
gated laws and ftatutes, gave execution to all 
the laws, civil and criminal, performed and con- 
dueled all the mofl important affairs' relating 
to the government, and reftrained the nobles and 
plebeians with the fear of punifhment, within the 
limits of refpeft and obedience * : that is to fay, 
all authority, legifiative, executive, and judicial, 
was collected together in one firigle affembly. But 
how they reftrained the nobles and plebeians to 
obedience we fhallfooh fee. 

In the year 1329, thefe anziani are called in 
the records Imperial Counfellors (Gonfiglieri Im- 

* Fioravanti, p. 21. 


is Piftoia. 

periali,) a remarkable title, obtained probably 
from the emperor Louis of Bavaria, when, after 
the death of Caftruccio, he placed one of his im- 
perial vicars ever the cuflody of the city of Pif- 

The dignity of gonfalonier of juftice was pro- 
bably inflituted in the year 1295, becaufe in the 
next year, 1296, in the ads of council it is re- 
corded, " De confilio et confenfu et audoritate 
dominorum anthianorum et vexilliferi juftitioe po- 
puli, et audoritate ducentorum confiliarorum." 

The new laws of 1330 name a gonfalonier of 
juftice, and eight anziani. It is refolved, that the 
anziani of the commons, and people of the city of 
Piltoia, are and ought to be eight only, viz. two 
for each gate or quarter, and one gonfalonier of 
juftice for the whole city .... The faid lords, the 
anziani and the gonfalonier of juftice, and their 
notaries, are and ought to be of the beft popular 
men and artificers of the city, and not of any 
houfe of the grandees*. And the authority of 
the gonfalonier of juftice was placed upon an 
equality with that of the anziani. The law or- 
dained, that whenever, in the ftatutes of the com- 
mons and people, mention is made of the anziani, 
the fame mall be underftood of the gonfalonier of 
juftice, although he be not written; and in all 
things, and every where, he mail have the fame 
authority, and full power (balia) as has one of the 
anziani, befides his proper office. And to mow 
that the gonfalonier of juftice was not, in the be- 
ginning, fuperior to the anziani, it appears that, 

* Di6ti domini anthiani, et vexilliferi juftitias, et eorum 
jiotarii, fint et efle debeant de melioribus popularibus et ar- 
tificibus didlae civitatis, et non de aliqua domo magnata. 
Tioravanti, p. 21. 


Fioravanii. i 3 

after the introduction of that office, they conti- 
nued to appoint, in the ufual manner, a prior of 
the anziani, with the fame authority and pre-emi- 
nence before defcribed. The law of 1330 fays, 
" And the anziani and ganfalonier of juftice, after 
they fhall be congregated in their palace, and mail 
have taken their ufual oaths, ought to conftitute 
one prior from among themfelves, for fuch time as 
they pleafe, to whom all the others ought to obey, 
under the penalty, &c. So that each of the an- 
ziani and gonfaloniers of juftice mail be prior, ac- 
cording to the proportion of time they mail be in 

The gonfalonier, by the duty of his office, was 
bound to fend out, with the confent and partici- 
pation of the anziani, the ftandard of juftice, to 
affemble together the armed militia, and go out 
to do execution againft any of the grandees (mag- 
nati) ; which gonfalonier of juftice, fays the law, 
fliall be bound by the obligation of an oath, and 
under the penalty of five hundred pounds, upon 
the commiflion of any homicide, to draw forth the 
ftandard of juftice, and, together with the captain 
of the people, to go to the houfe of the grandee 
committing fuch homicide, or caufmg. it to be 
committed, and to caufe his goods to be deftroy- 
ed, and not to fuffer the faid ftandard to repofe, 
until all the property of fuch delinquent fhall be 
totally deftroyed and laid wafte, both in the city 
and the country ; and to caufe the bell of the 
people to be rung, if to the lords, the anziana and 
the gonfalonier of juftice, it mail feem expedient, 
or the major part of them ; and all the mops, 
ftores, and warehoufes, fhall be fhut immediately 
upon the commiflion of fuch homicide, and mall 
not be opened till execution fhall be done as 
aforefaid. But in all other offences perpetrated 
, I againft 

14 Piftoia. 

againfl the perfon of any popular man by any 
grandee, it fhall be in the difcretion of the faid 
lords, the anziani and the ganfalonier of juftice, or 
the major part of them, to draw out the faid ftand- 
ard or not. Such a rigorous kind of juftice, as it 
regarded the grandees, who gave themfelves a li- 
cence to commit exceflive diforders againft the 
popular men, was thought to be the bed adapted to 
their infolence. And to undeceive thofe who may 
imagine that in Piftoia, at that time, the title of 
grandees was a refpe&able title, and diftinctive of 
the true nobility of the place, it is neceffary to 
have recourfe to the ufual municipal laws, which 
fay, that the magnati (grandees) were all thofe, of 
whatever condition, who, abandoned to an ill Hfe, 
offended the popular men, and held the city and 
country in inquietude ; and for this reafon were 
called Magnates, became feparated from all public 
affairs, and excluded entirely from all magistracies 
and offices, and fubje&ed to penalties ftill more 
rigorous. By the laws of the years 1330 and 
1344, to be declared a grandee was rather an in- 
famy than an honour. The words of the law are 
thefe, viz. ** But if it fhall happen that men of 
any race* or noble houfe, or any one of them from 
fuch a noble houfe or (lock, born of the male line, 
or any others, live wickedly andflagitioufly againfl 
the people, hurt the popular men, and terrify and 
difturb the peaceful ftate of the people, or fhall 
endeavour to do fo by himfelf or by others, and this 
mall be made known by public fame to the captain 
of the people, and the anziani and gonfalonier of 
juitice 'for the time being j thefe magiflrates, at 
the petition of any of the people of Piftoia, fhall 
be obliged to propofe to the council of the people, 
that fuch a noble houfe or progeny, fuch a man 
or number of men, thus defamed, be written and 


FioravantL I 5 

placed in the number of grandees, and as fuch be 
accounted*." And as the Piftoians were driven 
to great perplexities to maintain, in peace and 
quiet, their popular government, and in order to 
punifh feverely all thofe who mould take the li- 
cence to difturb the pacific ftate of their city, they 
proclaimed this penalty on all delinquents, by a 
law of the year 1418, rubrick 9. " But if it (hall 
happen that any one of any noble houfe or race, 
or any one of any other condition, (hall live wick- 
edly and profligately, or (hall commit or attempt 
to commit any fuch crime or mifdemeanor againft 
the people, and the pacific ftate of the people of 
the city of Pifloia, they mail be recorded in the 
number of grandees and accounted as fuch." To 
fuch extremes of caprice and violence, deftructive 
of all liberty and fafety, are fuch governments na- 
turally and neceffarily reduced f . 

The city of Piftoia had alfo in its regimen a 
fyndick. This was an officer who was called an 
Elder, or Syndick General, who mufl be forty 
years of age, and live forty miles from the city. 
His duty was to look over the accounts of the 
podefta, the captain of the people, the anziani, 
and all the magiftrates and officers of the city and 
its diftricl:, when they refigned or were difmifled 

* Sciibantur et ponantur in mimero magnatum et poten- 
tum, et pro magnatibus et potentibus habeantur. Fioravanti, 
p. 22. 

f The devices on the ftandards, feals, and coins of the re- 
"public, as well as all other antiquities, are not within the 
defign of this cflay ; but there was on one of jitheir ftandards 
an idea that contained the tnleft emblem of their govern- 
ment a lamb purfued by a wolf, with the motto, Pace, ri- 
chezza, fuperbia ; guerra, poveiia, umilta : Peace, riches, and 
pride ; war, poverty and humility. If the wolf is conftrued 
to fignify the majority, and the lamb the minority, as there 
was neither a fhepherd nor fhepherd's dog to interpofe between 
them, the rcfemblan.ce is. perfect 


16 Piftoia. 

from their charges. There were, moreover, ac- 
cording to the law of 1402, judges of appeals in 
all caufes, civil, criminal, and mixed; and to them 
belonged the cognizance of all difputes and regu- 
lations concerning provifions : they alfo fuperin- 
tended the fumptuary laws, againft all luxurious 
excefles in the drefs and ornaments of the ladies ; 
and they entertained a number of notaries, and a 
numerous family and court, for the execution of 
all fervices appertaining to their offices. 

The city of Piftoia being in this ftate of go- 
vernment, in 1355, the emperor Charles the 
Fourth arrived at Pifa, and the citizens appeared 
before his Imperial majefty, and gave him the de- 
monftrations of vaiTallage and obedience due to 
the fovereignty which he held over their city. 
The emperor confirmed to them all the privile- 
ges granted by his auguft predeceflbrs ; and de- 
firous of fixing the reputation and reverence for 
the dignity of the gonfaloniers of juftice, he en- 
larged their authority, as well as that of the an- 
ziani ; and wifhing to make the Piftoians enjoy, 
quietly, fome fpecies of liberty, he gave thejn, by 
a diploma of the 26th of May, the faculty of liv- 
ing and governing themfelves, according to their 
laws and laudable cuftoms, in a free, popular ftate, 
under the regency of the anziani and the gonfalo- 
niers of juftice, declaring both the anziani and the 
gonfaloniers, for the affairs of Piftoia and its do- 
minion, his vicars, and vicars of the empire, for, the 
whole term of his own life. " The anziani," fays 
the diploma, u and the gonfalonier of juftice of 
the people, and commons of Piftoia, who now are, 
and for the time to come fhall be, in office, and 
no others, we conftitute our general and irrevo- 
cable vicars, for the whole term of our life, with 
the full adminiftration in the city, country, and 


Fioravanti. 17 

diftri&of Piftoia, and in all its lands, cafties, and 
places." Piftoia maintained itfelf in this ftate of 
a republic as long as Charles the Fourth lived ; 
and, taking advantage of the diftance and negli- 
gence of his fuccefibrs, they perfevered in the 
fame government until the year 1401, when the 
emperor Robert, by his charter, declared the gon- 
falonier and priors of the arts of the city of Flo- 
rence his vicars, and vicars of the empire, and 
gave them the government of Arezzo, Volterra, 
Piftoia, and the other places of Tufcany. But in 
the interval between thefe periods, the Piftoians 
were never quiet ; for governing themfelves in 
what they called a free popular ftate, they were 
for reducing all to a level, and thought, or pre- 
tended, to make all the citizens enjoy equally the 
public honours and offices of their city. In this 
ftate of things, the rebellion of Sambuca was fo* 
mented by fome of the citizens of Piftoia, at the 
head of whom was Riccardo Cancellieri, who had 
made himfelf mafter of feveral cafties in the moun- 
tains ; from whence he made inroads on the whole 
territory of Piftoia, and kept the inhabitants in 
continual alarms, with the defignof delivering his 
country into the hands of John Galeazzo Vifconti, 
duke of Milan. Upon this occafion the imperial 
vicars in Florence fent, for the protection of Pif- 
toia, two thoufand infantry, fome cavalry, and 
three commirTaries, who calling together the ge- 
neral council, impofed upon the counfellors the 
neceffityof doing whatever was required of them, 
that they might not incur (till greater miferies. In 
the firft place, they required that every refolution 
and ftatuteof liberty, and every condition, article, 
and confederation, which the city had, mould be 
annulled ; and then, by another refolution, that 
they fhould fubject themfelves to the people of 
VOL. III. D Florence, 

1 8 Piftoia. 

Florence, with liberal authority to govern Piftoia 
at their discretion. This proportion of the Flo- 
rentines was ill relifhed by the Piftoians; and 
while the council was debating on it, the foldiery 
took pofieflion of the piazza and palace of the an- 
ziani ; and having underltood that no resolution 
had palled, they began, with drawn fwords in 
their hands, to cry, ct Florence for ever I" (Viva 
Firenze!) and to threaten the counfellors, who, 
thus intimidated, by an ample refolution Suddenly 
Surrendered the liberty of their city to the Floren- 
tines, from that day, the loth of September i4oi > 
to the calends of January 1402, to the end that 
they might apply a Summary remedy to the evils 
with which they were agitated and opprefSed, 
as Say the books of reformations in Florence : 
and then were painted the lions, the enSigns of 
Florence, upon the palace of the Syndick of the 
city of Piftoia. It was not long before thefe im- 
perial vicars, availing themSelves of the authority 
given them by the emperor, and of that given 
them by the Piftoians themfelves, fent to Pifloia 
four commifTaries to reform the public offices ; 
who, deSirous, as they Said, of discovering the in- 
clinations of their principals to raife the dignity of 
the city of Piftoia, propofed that the forms and 
orders of the city of Florence mould, as much as 
poifible, be imitated ; and that the twelve buon- 
homini mould be called the Twelve of the Col- 
lege ; and that the Supreme magiftracy oS the an- 
ziani mould be no longer denominated the Anziani 
of the People, but the Priors of the People ; and, 
not making any innovation in the gonfalonier of 
juftice, that he fhould retain the Same name. 
The prior of the anziani was to be called Provoft 
or Prefident of the Priori, according to the words 
of the reform, " And the priors mall have among 


Fforavanti. iq 

thernfelves one prefident continually, who (hall; 
continue three days in this manner. After the 
oaths of office /ball be taken, they (hall caufe nine 
votes, with their names, to be put into a purfe by 
a notary, one of which fhall be drawn out for a 
prefident, rand fo fuccefftvely during the term of 
their office." 

The Florentines having thus limited and re- 
ftrained the privileges of the Piftoians, or made the 
election of the anziani, and given them the name of 
priors, they made eight purfes, in the proportion 
of two for each gate, and regulated themfelves ac- 
cording to the plan in 1376; in which year, to 
take away the fcandalous names of the two fac- 
tions of Bianchi and Neri, Whites and Blacks, 
were inftituted two companies, one called the 
Company of St. John, and the other St. Paul, 
and one prior was drawn for the gate of one com- 
pany, and another for the other ; and the gonfa- 
lonier of juftice was drawn, at one time from the 
company of St. John, and at another from that 
of St. Paul. This manner of drawing the magif- 
tracy of the priori was changed in 1417, when the 
priori began to be drawn from two purles, the firft 
and the fecond. 

In 1417 the Piftoians, confidering that in fo 
great a change of affairs they ought to make fome 
advancement of the dignity of the gonfalonier of 
juftice, ordained that the firft place in rank fhould 
no longer be held by the prefident and rector of 
the city, but by the gonfalonier. Thus fays the 
law, " That the gonfalonier of juftice fhall always 
hold the more dignified place, and after him the 
prefident: and in like manner, in going out, with 
the reftor and other officers of the city of Piftoia." 
This law was ratified by the law of 1437; and 
from this it followed, that in 1463 they began to 


so Piftola. 

make for the prefident, who was to continue and 
refide in that office, a purfe by itfelf, as it was de- 
termined by the other officers, in 1471, that from 
that purfe mould be drawn two, and the oldeft 
man of them mould be the firft to occupy the 
prefident's place, unlefs the younger were a doclor 
of laws : and this was called the purfe of the prefi- 
dent, the firfl of whom had the faculty of fpeak- 
ing and anfwering firft in all congrefles ; which 
faculty however ceafed, in the firft prefident, in 
the year 1492, when it was determined, that the 
right of fitting and fpeaking firft mould, in all oc- 
currences, be enioyed by the gonfalonier of juftice : 
and thus this office of gonfalonier of juftice, rifing 
continually in dignity, began by little and little to 
be defired by the nobles, and, by common confent 
and a public decree, to be confined to the nobles 
alone. The fupreme magiftracy of the priori be- 
coming a little civilized, it grew into a cuftom, 
that the purfe of the prefident was confidered as 
the firft after that of the gonfalonier of juftice, 
and that which was the firft of the priors became 
the fecond ; but, becaufe from this were drawn 
four fubje&s, it was called the Purfe of Four ; and 
the other, which was called the Second of the 
Priori, became the third, and was called, from this 
time .the Common Purfe, in which all citizens 
qualified for offices ought to remain, at leaft for the 
period of one reform, although by his condition 
of birth, merit, and age, he was qualified for a 
purfe of higher rank. When afterwards it was 
eftablifhed, that the defcendants of men of rank 
and diftintion, by the male line, fhould no longer 
begin to enjoy the priori by that purfe, but by 
that of four, the fame was called no longer the 
Common Purfe, but the Third ; whence, by vir- 
tue of this new order of magiftrature, we read, in 


* of one gonfalonier of juftice, two prefidents, 
four of the firft, and two of the fecond purfe, and 
one notary, with the preference to the gonfalonier 
of fitting firft, given him by the law of 1474, 
which fays, " The gonfalonier (hall obtain the firft 
and mod dignified place." 

By the few memorials that remain in the ar- 
chives of Piftoia it appears, that there have been 
many and various councils of citizens, for the re- 
gulation of the public affairs of the city, in which 
councils refided the fupreme authority of govern- 
ment ; and before the conftrudion of the public 
palace, all thefe councils were aflembled in a 
church, at the election of the head of the fupreme 
magiflracy of the anziani. The council of the 
people, from the year in which the anziani were 
inftituted, had, until 1477, the preference to make 
the reforms of the magiftrates and public officers 
of the city ; in which year it was ordained, that 
fuch reforms mould be made by thofe who had 
been drawn gonfaloniers of juftice, and workmen 
of St. James. Thefe reformers began to be called 
men of rank (graduati) for being arrived at the 
firft degrees and honours of the city, which at that 
time were the offices of gonfalonier of juftice, and 
that of a labourer of St. James ; and,*for the firft 
time, they are found thus named in the reform of 
1483 : and afterwards it was eftablimed by law, 
that two of a family mould intervene, to make the 
reform of public offices, and that the number of 
thirty-three mould be fufficient to make the re- 
form with validity. And this order of the gra- 
duati, or men of diftindion, is that by which, at 
this day, is moft clearly diftinguimed the no- 
bility of the city of Piftoia. In the year 1521, 
the number of the graduati deftined to make the 
reform of the public officers failing, there were 


22 Piftoia. 

elected certain citizens, of the other noble and 
popular families, and the name of Arruoti ; and 
it was eftablifhed as the duty of thefe to intervene 
in making the reform ; and this lafted till 1580. 

In the times of theconfuls we read, that there 
was a counfel of an hundred citizens, who were 
chofen by four men of good fame, twenty-five for 
each of the four gates of the city : without this 
counfel, neither the confuls nor the podefta could 
determine any thing ; and when there arofe a 
queftion of peace, war, or taxes, befides the coun- 
cil of an hundred, all the rectors of the chapels 
and arts intervened ; and as upon thefe occafions 
the confuls, podefta, counfellors of the hundred, 
and rectors of chapels and arts, all met in one af- 
fembly, and determined all things by a majority 
of vote, which, as has been before obferved, made 
it a government in one centre (an ariftocracy in 
reality, though a popular ftate in name) and con- 
fequently fome two or three families muft always 
be at the head of it, and conftantly contending for 
the fuperiority, kept the people in perpetual con- 

There was another council, as appears by the 
records, formed of fourteen citizens, and of all the 
doctors and . advocates, which was deftined to 
counfel the podefta ; as he himfelf, after having 
made his election of them, was obliged to go- 
vern by their advice : fuch was his oath ; "And 
I will fubmit to my counfellors, through the whole 
time of my dominion, in things which fhall ap- 
pear to me to regard the common honour and uti- 
lity of our city of Piftoia." As neither the po- 
defta nor this council had any negative on the 
legiflative council of an hundred, but, fince the 
podefta had the choice of its members, was no 
doubt compofed of his friends in the counfel of 


Fioravanti. 3 

an hundred, it is plain that the fame perfons and 
families mud have the chief influence and direc- 
tion of affairs in both ; fo that this executive 
council had the fame centre with the legiflative 

It is further found, that in the firft times of the 
government of the twelve anziani, viz. in 1267, 
there were two councils, one of forty counsellors 
of the captain of the people .and of the anziani, 
who ought to be of an age above forty years, and 
their office continued fix months ; and they re- 
folved upon all propofitions which by the captain 
of the people and the anziani were propofed to 
them, provided they were not contrary to the laws 
and the reform of the commons and people. The 
other council was called the Council of Two Hun- 
dred Counfellors of the People ; and in the af- 
femblies of this council intervened all the afore- 
faid forty, and, moreover, all the captains, gonfa- 
loniers, and counfellors of the companies of the 
people, and all the rectors and counfellors of the 
arts, and all thofe who had been anziani. The 
fabric of this government, and its fpirit, was the 
fame with the former, only the name of captain of 
the people was fubftituted for that of podefta, and 
a council of forty was fubftituted to that of four- 
teen, and a council of two hundred to that of one. 
The alteration therefore was not at all for the 

After 1330 there was one council, called the 
General Council ; this was formed of an hundred 
citizens, viz. fifty popular men, and fifty grandees 
(magnati.J In this council intervened all the 
members of the council of the people, all the che- 
valiers, all the doclors of law, and all the phyfi- 
cians of Piftoia, matriculated in the college of 
phyficians. But this council had of itfelf no au- 

24 Piftoia. 

thority, and could do nothing without the council 
of the people. In like manner, after the fame 
year 1330, the principal council of Piftoia was 
that of the people, in which intervened all the an- 
ziaiii, gonfaloniers of juflice, and their notaries, 
and two hundred popular citizens ; and none of 
the grandees could be of this council. They were 
eleded fifty for each gate. The authority of this 
council was fupreme and fovereign, to make and 
repeal laws, impofe and take off taxes, &c. In 
more ancient times, as appears by the rubrick 62, 
of the law of 1267, the council of the people had 
confided of fix hundred citizens ; but becaufe fuch 
a multitude generated confufion, it was reduced to 
two hundred in 1270. 

But the government of longeft duration in Pif- 
toia was that of the eight priors of the people, and 
one gonfalonier of juftice ; and this body was call- 
ed the Supreme Magiftracy of the City, and was 
renewed every two months, from the four purfes, 
in the palace of its refidence. When they pro- 
ceeded to draw thefe magiftrates, with folemn 
pomp was raifed up, from the treafury of St. 
James, the box, within which were locked up, 
with four keys, all the votes of the magiftrates of 
the city, and was carried in proceflion, accompanied 
by the magiftrates of all the colleges, with the 
trumpets founding, into the public palace ; where, 
from the firft purfe, was drawn the gonfalonier of 
juftice, who was the head of this magiftracy, and 
not only enjoyed the fupreme dignity, and the pre- 
eminence in place, robes, habitation, and in all 
other refpe&s, but anfwered in the name of the 
public : and although in public affairs he could not 
rule alone, there was always allowed him a right of 
freely entering when he would into the greater coun- 
cil, and into all other councils and colleges where 


any matters of importance were under deliberation, 
and there give his opinion, his reafons, and his 
vote. This gonfalonier was a man of gravity from 
his age ; and that he might be refpe&able in all 
points, it was required that he mould be of an an- 
cient family* : and he who enjoyed this fupreme 
poft enjoyed a jewel, held in veneration by the 
people, and in great efteem by the nobility. There 
were then drawn from the other purfe two fub- 
je&s who were called prefidents ; and thefe were 
fometimes of a middle age, and fometimes old 
men, and for the moil part, after giving proofs of 
their wifdom in thisflation, they afcended, either by 
means of their birth or their merit, to the rank of 
the gonfalonierate. From the other purfe, called 
the purfe of four, were fucceflively drawn four fub- 
jects of the prime nobility, or at leaft of middling 
condition, who, for the moft part, were in younger 
2ge ; and from this purfe, fome by their birth, 
and fome by their merit and their age, patted up 
to the more dignified purfe of the prefidents, 
and fometimes to the rank of graduati, or men 
of diftinction. In the lad place were drawn 
two perfons from the third purfe, in which were 
contained all the citizens who had not made any 
advancement in the other purfes, or had been of 
families worthy only of the purfe of four, and 
among thefe were found thofe who exercifed civil 
and liberal arts ; and thefe did not diminifti the 
dignity of the magiftracy, but rather gave occa- 
fion to maintain the union between the plebeians 
and the nobility ; for with this confolation, the 
former remained long quiet, without any infurrec- 
tion. This magiftracy had in the fervice of its 
miniftry a chancellor, who was a notary public, and 

* Si richiede lunga, c continovatachiarezza di fangue. 

E was 

26 Ptftoia. 

was drawn from a purfe deftined for that porpofe. 
This magiftracy began their offices on the morn- 
ing of the firft day of the month, in their fenato- 
rial robes. Each of the priors wore a robe of 
fcarlet lined with red damafk, vulgarly called a 
gowri*(lucco,) with a hat or bonnet lined with a 
cloth of black filk, with its ribbon and taflel of 
black crape, and upon the left moulder a large 
-knot of crimfon fatin, which was commonly call- 
ed la becca ; and the chancellor wore a gown of 
black cloth, lined with red cloth, without the knot 
upon the moulder, but with a hat fimilar to thofe 
of the priori, whofe duty it is to draw up and fign 
the ath of this magiftracy ; but the gonfalonier of 
juftke is clothed with a robe of red velvet, with a 
limilar moulder-knot, and his head is covered with 
'a boad hat, of a noble appearance, the name of 
which is tocco, a bonnet. This magiftracy, thus 
clothed and ornamented, before the fyndick of 
the old magiftracy took the oaths of their offices, 
in the public view of trie people, in the larger 
piazza, and under the ample covering of it, built 
in 1332 with the revenues of the excife, or ga- 
belles, of the four quarters of the city ; and, after 
having taken their oaths, they went in proceffion, 
with the ftandard of juftice, to the chapel of St. 
James the apoftle, protector of the city, and thence 
to the palace of their refidence, which was fpa- 
cious enough to receive, in the year 1536, the em- 
peror Charles the Fifth, in all the forms of ma- 
jefty. None of the component members of that 
magiftracy could go out privately ; but only in 
fome determined function was it permitted to the 
whole body of the magiftracy' to go out of their 
palace with folemn pomp. This magiftracy re- 
fided with their chancellor, night and day, in the 
palace, to the end that all public bufinefs might 


Fioravanti. %j 

be difpatched and attended to with the greater vi- 
gilance, for the good government of the city ; and 
they drew from the commons a fufficient appoint? 
rnent, both for the maintenance of their tables, 
and of fix and twenty perfons deftined to their 
fervice, and for the honourable management of 
the furniture of their palace, the linen for^their 
perfons and houfeholds, and of their plate, and 
all other things neceflary for their ufe in the time 
of the government. This maglftracy alfo enter-, 
tained a chaplain, with a handfome falary. We may 
pafs over the tedious defcription of feafts and pub- 
lic proceflions, and return to the former difcourfe, 
and fay, that the gonfalonier of juftice was the 
head, not only of the fupreme magiftracy, but alfo 
of all other fubaltern magiftracies which were in 
the commonwealth, and without him there could 
not be convened any council of the citizens, to 
engage in any public deliberation. This magif- 
trate, while the public refidence continued, was 
attended, whenever he went out of the palace, by 
a retinue confifting of one perfon, who, with the 
title of fifcal, refided in Piftoia, by one afieffor 
verfed in the profeflion of the law, by the captain 
of infantry, by two architects of the palace, by the 
fteward of provifions, by the chancellor del danno 
dato, by the mafter of the hpufe, and by fix and 
twenty fervants : and in the performance of reli- 
gious ceremonies, and in fome of the principal 
afiemblies, this magiftrate had a retinue of magik 
trates and nobility, which gave him more fpleri-. 
dour than a crown. 

The magiftrates, upon whom depended the right 
government of the city of Piftoia, are, befides thofe 
already named, all thefe which follow : fome de- 
termine upon public affairs, others prefide in ju^ 
dicature, others fuperintend the common interefts, 


2 8 P ijl oia. 

Others private; thefe watch over health, thofeover 
plenty ; fome attend to the confervation of the 
peace, and others to politics. Thefe magiftrates are 
the twelve colleges ; fix for petitions ; two for the 
works in the palace of the fupreme magiflrates ; 
the two companions ; the captain of infantry, who 
in ancient times was called by the name captain 
of the families of the anziani, and who, in primi- 
tive times, was called by the name of votalarche 
the inilitution of this office was mod ancient ; 
the fix labourers of St. James, who, befides other 
commiffions, held that of provifions, and are, 
exclufively of all other magiftrates, lawgivers, 
judges, and overfeers of all the tranfgreffions de^ 
pendent upon matters of provifions, and is the firft 
magiftracy of the nobles, becaufe he who is de^ 
nominated a labourer of St. James enjoys the noble 
rank of the graduati, a dignity and charge of equal 
nobility, although of different function and com- 
mand, with that of gonfalonier of juflice, as this 
office confers the character and diftin&ion of nobi- 
lity both upon the perfon and the family. There 
are alfo the four officers of the pious and charitable 
houfe of wifdom ; the four workmen of the holy 
virgin of humility ; the magiftrates over the rivers 
and roads ; the labourers of St. John and St. Ze- 
none ; the magiftracy of buonhomini over the 
prifons ; the minifters of the mount of piety ; the 
miniflers of fait ; the minifters of pledges depo- 
fited ; the approvers of the excifes ; the purveyors 
for the commons ; the four over civil contefts ; 
the two over the reftitutions of gabelles ; the two 
over the public fchools ; the deputies fuperintend- 
Jng the poor ; the deputies for the affeffment of 
taxes ; the magiftrates of abundance ; the magif- 
trates of health ; the judges of controverfies rela- 
tive to beafts 5 the four peace makers ; the minif- 

Fioravanti. . 29 

ters of the trumpet ; the eight reformers ; the 
minifters of the commons ; the minifters of the 
cuftom-houfe ; the fyndicks of the re&ors ; the 
deputies over the work-houfe of the poor ; the pri- 
fon keepers ; the college of judges ; the notaries ; 
the rectors of arts ; the tribunal of damages done ; 
the regifters who affifted in civil contefts ; the ma- 
giftracy of tkree judges, who are foreigners : but 
at prefent, as the public revenues are farmed out, 
thefe are fufpended, and in their place the fifcal of 
the city is introduced to decide the controverfies 
of the people, with the liberty of recurring to the 
grand ducal chamber at Florence, in cafes of ap- 
peals and denials of juftice. The appeal from ci- 
vil caufes, determined by thefe magiftrates, is 
fometimes to the fupreme magiftracy of the priori 
and the gonfalonier of juftice of the city, in the 
name of whom the public decrees are difpatched, 
and under the impreffion of his feal. 

There is, moreover, a council general of the 
people, formed of fixty citizens, and their office 
continues fix months ; into this council intervene 
the priors of the people, the gonfalonier of juftice, 
the twelve colleges, and the fix for petitions. This 
council holds the fupreme authority of the city, 
and has jurifdiction over all the magiftrates who 
trangrefs their offices, and has the faculty to treat 
and difpatch the moft important affairs of the 
ftate of Piftoia, to make and repeal laws, name 
ambafladors, difpenfe offices, lay on arid take off 
taxes, and to give all affiftance to the other magif- 
trates, who all have their peculiar incumbent du- 
ties ; and each member may oppofe a decifion on 
any queftion under deliberation, that it may be 
referred to another feffion, to be approved or re- 
jefted on mature confideration. 

For the mod weighty bufmefs of the govern- 

jo Piftoia. 

ment, there is a council compofed of the old and 
new council of the people, the priors of the people, 
the gonfalonier of juftice, the twelve of the col- 
leges, the fix of petitions, all the graduati, the 
refident officers of the pious houfe of wifdom, and 
all the refident gonfaloniers, and refolve as to the 
majority appears moft ufeful and advantageous for 
the public good, where all the moft momentous 
affairs and caufes moft interefting to the public 
are digefted. 

There is alfo a council of graduati, which had 
its beginning in 1483, and is compofed of two 
perfons for each family, of thofe perfons, however, 
who actually enjoy the dignity of thegraduati, which 
is the firft of the honours of the city ; and three 
and thirty members are fufficient to form a valid 
council, to which it belongs to promote perfons and 
families to the citizenlhip of Piftoia, and to public 
offices and honours. Every five years this council, 
together with the gonfalonier of juftice, and the 
eight reformers, put to afecretvote all the perfons 
who enjoy the citizenmip of Piftoia, iind reward or 
condemn them as juftice requires. They renew the 
imborfations of public offices and honours, and 
give or take away from all as they pleafe ; examin- 
ing well the ranks of the citizens, the nobility, 
antiquity, merits and demerits of all perfons and 
families, over whom they keep a watchful eye, in 
order to prevent all occafion of confufion, diforder, 
and difturbance, which might happen through the 
difcordant pretenfions of the citizens ; and thus 
guarded and eftablifhed, they come from time to 
time to the diftribution of thofe offices for which 
there is occafion. 

Piftoia has alfo its dipenfer of laws (giufdi- 
cente), the duty of whom is to procure the peace 
and tranquillity of the citizens, and to diftribute 


Fioravanti. 3 1 

juftice, both according to the municipal laws, and 
conformably to the will of the fovereign ; and 
from ancient times his pod was occupied by the 
podefta, introduced by the emperors into all the 
cities of Italy ; and becaufe that, in the leaguethat 
was called the confederation of Tufcany, conclud- 
ed in 1 197 between many places and cities of that 
province, for their common defence againft the 
rights, or at lead claims, of the emperor, to dilate 
the limits of their liberty, Piftoia had her place, 
and elected, according to the tenor of the afibcia- 
tion, her head, with the title of captain, to whom 
were confided, as the law required, all their affairs 
and pretenfions, therefore, in 1200, it is faid that 
Piftoia had for her captain one by the name of 
Gualdaccio ; from which year, until 1529, there 
was always elected by the Piftoians, and bythofe 
wjio had the government of Piftoia, a rector, to- 
gether with the podefta, for the good direction of 
the affairs of that city. It happened afterwards, 
that in the great tumults between the factions of 
the Panchiatica and the Cancelliera, there were 
elected by the Florentines thirteen commiflaries, 
to eftablilh the peace between thofe factions ; and 
they annulled, among the multitude of things which 
they did in 1502, the office of captain, and created 
that of commifiary ; and thus in fome years he was 
called commiflary, and in others captain commif- 
fary, and in others they returned to the old name 
of captain. In 1529 the Piftoians, finding them- 
felves in great difficulties, doubtful whether they 
fhould be able to govern themfelves, and dreading 
the devaftations of the army of the emperorCharles 
the Fifth, which was near their confines, fent am- 
bafladors to Bologna, to fupplicate Clement the 
Seventh, who was then in that city, that he would 
condefcend to defend their city from the imminent 


3 1 Pi/loia. 

danger, and take it under his protection, and de- 
livered him the keys of it ; which the pontiff, in 
his own name, and in the name of the emperor, 
who fought for the obedience of the Florentines 
and the other cities of Tufcany, having vyith great 
alacrity accepted, he fent fuddenly, for the go- 
vernment and cuftody of Pifloia, Alexander di 
Gerardo Corfmi, with the title of coinmiffary ; and 
therefore it followed that no podefta or captain 
was elected afterwards, excepting for three years, 
but one magiftrate alone, with the title of com- 
miiTary general, as was ever after the cuftom. 

The emperor Charles the Fifth having, in 1530, 
reduced by force the Florentines, and their confe- 
derates, to fubmiflion to the empire, and reftored 
in Florence "the houfe of Medici, who had been 
banifhed by their fellow-citizens, configned to 
them the government and dominion of Tufcany. 
Piftoia did not hefitate a moment from its obedi- 
ence to the new regent of the province, by which 
ready fubmiflion they obtained from him the fa- 
culty of continuing to govern themfelves accord- 
ing to their own laws and laudable cuftoms ; and 
they continued to receive, in place of a podefta and 
captain, a commiflary general for their defender 
and governor ; for all the time that the govern- 
ment of the houfe of Medici lafted, to maintain 
the government in fuitable dignity, it was their 
cuftom always to confer it on fome fenator of Flo- 

The government of the houfe of Medici termi- 
nating in the year 1737, by the failure of the fuc- 
cefilon, it was conferred, by the emperor Charles 
the Sixth, on Francis, the third duke of Lorraine 
and Bar. This new lord of Tufcany, purfuing 
the fame fyftem of government of the houfe of 
Medici, has continued to furnifh the city of Piftoia 


with a commilfary general, if not a fenatof , at leaft 
refpectable for his nobility, who, regulating the 
government by the laws of the city, has always 
enabled it to enjoy a perfect tranquillity. 

Francis, the fecond grand duke of Tufcany, in 
1749, conceiving a good opinion of Piftoia, as a 
city of merit, and in all things refpedable, wifhing 
to raife its dignity and honour, as he pretended, 
annulled the office of commiflary general, and 
confided the government to a "minifter, with the 
title of governor*. 

In a city, where every intereft feemed to be 
guarded by particular magiftrates, where fo many 
changes were made in their form of government, 
in order to find one which would pleafe and fatisfy 
the people, one might expeft to find happinefs, if 
it were poilible that it mould exift where le>- 
giflative and executive powers were confounded 
together in one aflfembly. But if we go over again 
the feveral periods of the hiftory of Piftoia, we 
{hall find that fimilar caufes had the fame effects. 

At the end of the eleventh and beginning of the 
twelfth century, civil difcords in Piftoia generated 
much mifery ; and many families fearing that they 
mould have ftill greater evils to fuffer, determined 
to abandon their country ; and, as a leflbn to 
their mad and cruel fellow-citizens whom they 
left behind them, they caufed an infcription to be 
engraved on the gates, " Habbi pazienzia" (have 
patience), a motto that ought to be written over 
the door, and engraven on the heart, of every ci- 
tizen in fuch a government, an.d went to inhabit 
other countries. 

Italy beginning, in i u 2, to be infected with the 
contagious difeafe of the factions of the Guelphs 

* Fioravanti, p. 38. 

VOL. III. F and 

34 Pi/lota. 

and Ghibellines, deftru&ive infurre&ions and tm- 
mults were raifed in Piftoia ; and the citizens, in- 
feded with a fpirit of cruelty againft each other, 
without fear of human or divine chaftifement, at- 
tended to nothing but party quarrels, and mutual 
ilaughter and murder : and thefe contefts involved 
the city in continual wars, foreign and domeftic, 
till the year 1235, when the podefta, a wife man 
and a nobleman of high rank, exerted all his pru- 
dence, vigilance, and folicitude, to reprefs and 
compofe the tumults of the nobles and popu- 
lar party, who, on account of the government, 
were grown unufually fierce and infolent ; but not 
being able to reconcile differences fo inveterate, 
nor prevent the cruelties which both parties, re- 
gardlefs of his menaces and punifhments, daily 
committed, the city was thought to be in evident 
danger of total defolation. As fome of the citi- 
zens had given afliftance to the Conte Guido de 
Conti Guidi, who was become odious to other ci- 
tizens as the fautor of Ghibellines, tumults were 
increafed and multiplied, till the city was at length 
divided into two, came to a fierce battle, and, as 
one party would not mix with or depend upon the 
other, each one elected its podefta and confuls, as 
if they had been two feparate cities and indepen- 
dent governments ; and a war was maintained be- 
tween them for years with fuch fury, as fet all laws, 
human and divine, at defiance, till, exhaufted and 
humbled on both fides, they were forced to have 
recourfeto Rubaconte, podefta of Florence, under 
whofe mediation a peace between them was con- 
cluded, with a detail of articles, to the perform- 
ance of which Florence became warrantee. In 
confequence of this mediation and peace, Piftoia 
returned for a fhort time, to her flouriming con- 
dition j fo that not only the greater powers ad- 

Ftoravanti. 35 

mired her felicity, but the mod formidable of the 
other cities flood in awe of her. But, oh mifera- 
ble viciffitudes of ill conftituted governments * ! 
to the confufion of the citizens of Pifloia, the 
other cities, by fome intervals of peace and union, 
grew more powerful, and Piftoia alone, by the 
continuance of quarrels, factions, and civil wars, 
was meanly reduced in command, honour, and 
fortune. It was not long before the old difputes 
revived, and continued till 1251, when the pope 
was obliged to interpofe, and negociate a new 
peace between the parties in Piftoia. But this 
peace could not be effe&ed.till long wars, a great 
d$ftrution of lives, and a general defolation of the 
lands and cities, by the various leagues and alter- 
nate confifeations of the rich and the poor, the 
nobles and commons, Guelphs and Ghibellines, 
had fatigued and exhaufted all parties. 

In 1 260 the Ghibellines of Piftoia, Florence, 
Volterra and Prato, could no longer bear the in- 
folence and impertinence of the contrary fa&ion : 
they therefore formed an union with their friends 
in the other cities, raifed armies, and renewed the 
wars ; and, after many fharp conflicts, and at 
length the fanguinary battle of Montaperto, they 
turned the tide of fortune and the torrent of po- 
pular paffions in their favour, till all Tufcany be- 
came Ghibelline, excepting Lucca and the Floren- 
tine exiles. At the inftigation of the Conte No- 
vello, vicar of the king Manfred, Piftoia, Florence, 
Siena, Pifa, Volterra, Samminiato, Colle, Prato, 
and Poggibonfi, raifed a ftanding army to make 
war upon Lucca, becaufe this city was the afylum 
of their fugitives. This army was maintained only 
by the impofition of univerfal and very heavy 

* Ma oh mifere vicende del mondo ! Fioravanti, p. 219. 


j 6 P'iftoia. 

taxes, did infinite damage in the country, and at 
laft, in 1267, obtained a peace between Piftoia and 
Lucca, upon conditions, one of which was, that 
each city mould pardon the other all the injuries, 
moleftations, difcords, offences, damages, rapines, 
homicides, devaluations, and conflagrations, that 
had been committed. 

In 1268 the Guelphs in Piftoia were much dif- 
pleafed that the heads of the Ghibellines, banifhed 
and driven out from their city, fhould, under Af- 
tancollo Panciatichi, have fortified themfelves at 
Lucciano, a caftle under the eyes of Piftoia ; there- 
fore they ordered Cialdo Cancellieri, their podefta, 
to go out with an armed force and diflodge them. 
Panciatichi, having penetrated the defigns of the 
Guelphs in Piftoia, fearing that he could not rcfift 
the affault of his enemies, becaufe he was inferior 
in force, and without hopes of fuccour, abandoned 
thepoft, and went to Pifa, where he united himfelf 
with his confederates : fo that Cancellieri, finding 
the caftle empty of inhabitants, plundered and 
demolimed it, and caufed the Panciatichi to be 
banifhed as the heads of that fadion, whofe eftates 
were all confiscated. 

The partialities of the citizens of Piftoia having, 
in 1 270, in fome meafure fubfided, by means of the 
government of the Univerfal Pacificators of Tuf- 
cany, they fet about a reformation of their magif- 
trates ; and confidering that a multitude always 
generated confufion, they reduced to tw hundred 
their general council, which had been compofed 
before of fix hundred members, and created many 
new magiftracies and jurisdictions, in order to 
bring into order the affairs of their government*. 
But in 1 284 there arofe again moft grievous dif~ 

* Fioravanti, p. 330. 


Fioravanti. 37 

orders, by reafon of the ill adminiftration of juf- 
lice ; and the general council elected the wiieft 
citizens, to make another reformation and new 
laws, and to bring about a reconciliation among 
the principal citizens who difturbed the public 
tranquillity. But all their regulations were inef- 
fectual; for in the next year, 1285, frefh diflur- 
bances were perceived in the city of Piftoia, occa- 
fioned by certain families, who by means of co- 
pious wealth, and the adherence of numerous 
friends, followers, and relations, afpired, at their 
difcretion, to govern the city : but as the wifeft 
men exerted themfelves, that their public affairs 
jhould depend only on law and juftice, not upon 
the paflions and caprice of individuals, they call- 
ed together the general council. Thefe endeavoured 
to render thofe families odious and unpopular, as 
well as the title by which they were diftinguimed ; 
and to this end ordered, that thofe families mould 
be declared " grandees" (magnati,) who by their 
influence and power diilurbed the public tranquil- 
lity : and to be declared a grandee became equi- 
valent to being declared a feditious perfon, an 
arrogant, an impertinent, and feparated from the 
government of the commons of the city. 

The dominant party ruled fo arbitrarily the 
Guelphs, committed fo many robberies upon 
them, and burnt and deftroyed fo much of their 
property, that thefe became defperate, and the 
exiles from many cities raifed an army, which ob- 
liged the Piftoians, and the governors of other 
cities, to raife another to oppofe it, at an expence 
of an univerfal impofition of taxes upon all the 
neceffaries of life. The two armies met in the 
plain of Campaldino, and a memorable victory 
was gained by the Guelphs ; and fire and fword 
again fcattered wide in confequence of this. 


38 Pijloia. 

In 1290 another fierce tumult arofe in Piftoia, 
between the moft illuftrious families, occafioned 
by a ftroke of a fword, given by Mone Sinibaldi, 
upon the face of Gio. Vergiolefi. Upon this fig- 
nal there was a general infurre&ion ; and it cofl 
all the art and resolution of the government, to do 
juftice, to prevent another general battle ; for ci- 
vil difcords were beyond meafure increafed, and 
the people, without any bridle, were in the utmoft 
danger of defolating the city, and leaving it empty 
of inhabitants. The exiles in the mean time took 
their ftations among the mountains, where they 
fortified themfelves, and made incurfions from 
time to time, robbing, plundering, burning, and 
murdering, without controul. 

Another infurre&ion, in 1296, came very near 
to accomplifh the final ruin of Piftoia ; it ended 
in a bloody battle, in which many perfons loft 
their lives, and the parties remained as inveterate 
and cruel after as they had been before it. In- 
furre&ions and tumults continued fo frequent, that 
the bifhop fled for fear, the merchants could do 
no bufinefs, and revolutions, infolence, robberies, 
affafiinations, daily happened* ; and fuch diffidence 
and diftruft was fixed in the minds of all men, 
that all lived in continual fear and fufpicion. 
Thefe apprehenfions were carried to fuch a length, 
that each one fhut himfelf up in his houfe, with 
the friends he could colled, where he fortified him- 
felf ; and thofe who had not towers to their habi- 
tations erected themf. Sixty towers were*ere6led 
in this fingle city, fome of which (till remain ele- 

* Le rivoluzioni, le infolenze, le rubberie, li afiaffinamenti, 
die giornalmente accadevano, &c. Fioravauti, p. 243. 
f Fioravanti, p. 244. 


Fioravanti. 29 

vated on the roofs of the houfes, fome are now 
covered with roofs, others fmce included in 
the buildings as they have been enlarged, and 
others from time to time, have been ruined and 
deftroyed in the fubfequent wars. It is to be 
noted, that, by law or by cuftom, towers might 
not be ereded but by the nobility, and thefe had 
their meafure ; fo that, to avoid envy, they could 
not exceed a limited height. But at this time 
the infurredions of the citizens and of the people 
of the caftles in the high lands increafmg, feditious 
and perverfe people were found every where,which 
gave occafion and motives to all the citizens to 
think of their houfes ; and they began, through 
the whole ftate, to proceed to exemplary punifh- 
ments, without regard to the age, condition, or 
fex of the perfons, and thus, in a Ihort time, to 
fo many evils and tumults : and befides the quiet 
that refulted to the city, the ftimulus had an effecl: 
on the caftles irf the mountains, viz. Cavinano, 
Lizzano, Popillio, Piteglio, St. Marcello, Mam- 
miano, and others, to make that univerfal peace 
which is mentioned in the archives of the city. 

But the diforder was not confined to the com- 
mon citizens in town or country, it originated in 
the divifions among the men of birth, fortune, 
and abilities, in the government ; and contefts for 
fuperiority among the anziani themfelves, in 1 298, 
arofe to fuch a degree, that from argument, in- 
trigue, and oratory, they proceeded to blows, and, 
after a rude encounter, the weaker party fled to 
the public archives, andfhutandfecured the door in 
the faces of their purfuers : thofe without, finding 
it impoflibJe to purfue the affray, determined to 
take their vengeance by fire ; accordingly, fettiiig 
fire to the archives, thofe within remained, toge- 
ther with all the papers, files, and records^ a prey 


4 Piftoia. 

and a triumph to devouring flames. This terrible 
event, as may well be believed, produced flill 
greater tumults and confufions, which were ter- 
minated at laft by a calamity of another kind, 
more terrible, if not more deftru&ive, a continu- 
ance of earthquakes for eight days together, which 
fhook down houfes and towers more effectually 
than the inhabitants were able to do. This event, 
which was believed by fome to be a judgment of 
Heaven for the animofities of the citizens, it was 
hoped would promote peace and benevolence 
among them ; but they foon revived, with more 
wickednefs than ever, their ancient diffenfions. The 
family of Cancellieri, at this time having moft in- 
fluence,, both by the riches they poffeffed, and by 
their great numbers, amounting to an hundred 
men in arms, as brave as they were haughty, were 
become formidable to all the other families in Pif- 
toia, to fuch a degree that all, both in the city 
&nd country flood in fear of them. It happened 
that Carlino di Gualfredi, and Dore, or Amadore, 
the fon of William Cancellieri, being together in 
a cellar, where they had drank too freely, fell into 
a fquabble, in which Dore was beaten, and infulted 
with outrageous language, which offended him fo 
highly that he meditated a cruel revenge. Going 
out of the wine cellar in this temper of mind, 
Dore went, late as it was at night, and laid him- 
ielf down in a corner of the ftreet by which Car- 
lino was ufed to pafs, and there happening to fee 
Vanni, the brother of Carlino, on horfeback, 
without thinking of his innocence, gafhed him 
in the face by a blow with a target, and by another 
ftroke cut off part of his left hand. In this de- 
plorable condition Vanni was carried to his fa- 
ther, who, feeing his fon fo barbaroufly treated, 
was fo inflamed with refentment, that, difregard- 

FioravaniL 41 

ing all laws divine and human, he began to medi- 
tate his revenge. At this moment the extravagance 
of his fon was reported to William, and affefted 
him with fuch grief and difguft, that he thought 
of averting any unfortunate confequences by an 
at of fubmiilion ; and he fends his guilty fon to 
the father and brothers of the man he had injured, 
to afk their pardon in his own name and in that of 
his affli&ed father* But all in vain ; for fcarcely 
had Gualfredi caft his eyes on Dore, when he 
feized him, and, without regard to the goodnefs 
of his father, cut off one of His hands upon a horfe 
manger, and gamed him in the face, in the fame 
manner as he had done to Vanni his fon. By this 
atrocious deed, done in cool blood and a fober 
hour, the father and brothers of Dore were fa 
exasperated, that in order to obtain fome fignal 
revenge, they united the force of their friends and 
relations, filled the city with brawls, difcords, and 
murder, and divided not only the family of Can- 
cellieri, but the whole city, into two parties. 
The Cancellieri were at that time very numerous, 
very rich, and in near degrees of blood related and 
allied ; fome of them were derived from the lady 
Nera, and others from the lady Bianca, both of 
them wives of M. Cancelliero, the firft author of 
the furname of this family ; but now, no longer re- 
garding their confanguinity, they became fo per- 
verfe as to attend to nothing but the deftrudion 
of each other ; and reviving the memory of the 
ladies, from whom the anceftors of Carlino and 
Dore had their original, the followers of Carlino 
took the name of Bianchi, and the followers of 
Dore thatofNeri ; and the people being already 
infe&ed with diabolical paffions, the Ghibellines 
took the part of the Bianchi, and the Guelphs that 
of the Neri : and from this time the two factions 
VOL. III. /' G of 

42 Piftoia. 

of the city began to be called Bianchi and Neri, 
and frequent bloody battles were fought in the 
city between them. 

* The whole people in the city and country be- 
came divided into Bianchi and Neri, and the mu- 
tual {laughters of men, and burnings of houfes, 
came very near to ruin the country. There was 
not a perfonwho was not obliged to afiurne one 
ofthefe names, and fide with one of the parties. 
Recourfe at laft was had to Florence, to aflift the 
magistrates in controuling thefe parties ; and the 
heads of the parties were banifhed, all except Ber- 
tacca, far advanced in age, and one of the knights 
of St. Mary, an order which had been inftituted 
by Urban the Fourth to pacify the factions. It 
was confined to the nobility, inverted with white 
robes with a red crofs, and two red ftars in a 
white field ; but, with all its pomp and fandtity, 
had very little influence to correct the errors of an 
imperfect government. The Caucellieri took re- 
fuge in Florence, thofe of the Neri in the houfe of 
the Donati, and thofe of theBianehi in that of the 
Cerchi ; and infected Florence at laft to fuch a 
degree, that thofe party diftindtions became as 
common and as michievous in that city as in Pif- 
toia. At this time the Tufkans, holding them- 
felves free from all fubjection to the empire, and 
regulating all things according to the caprice of 
parties unbalanced in their governments, the pef- 
tiferous venom fpreading wider every day in the 
minds of the people, the two factions aiming at 
nothing lefs than each others total deftruction, 
had for their object the ambitious defire of do- 

* Vid. Ferreti Vicentino, lib. ii. apud Muratori, torn. ix. 
Rerum Italicarum- Scriptores, Muratori Anrial. torn. viii. 
p. -2, 3.T-Cofi le rnaledette Sette, fi andavano dilatando per 
tutta la Tofcana. 


Fioravanti. 43 

imneering without controul. With this maxim, 
which is chara&eriftic of the feditious, 'thefe fac- 
tions joined in the city of Florence to trample on 
the laws ; and the party Bianchi fucceeded to drive 
out by force the party Neri, and affumed the do- 
minion of the city. 

But before the end of the year, another revolu- 
tion was effected both in Florence and Piftoia, 
and the houfes of many of the principal people 
levelled with the ground. The Florentines, 
among whom the party Neri governed, in 1302, 
fufpeding that the Bianchi, now banimed from 
their city, would, with the afliftance of the Bian- 
chi who ruled in Paftoia, raife again with new force, 
entered into a combination with Lucca for the 
total deftru&ion of Piftoia ; and a war fucceeded, 
which lafted many years, and extended to all the 
cities of Tufcany, introducing the diftindtions of 
Neri and Bianchi, and feveral revolutions, in all of 
them. But the war agaift Piftoia was maintained 
by Florence and Lucca in concert, till Piftoia was 
taken, its country divided, and its people perfe- 
cuted and oppreffed, when', finally, they refufed to 
receive a podefta from Lucca and Florence. This 
occafioned another army to be fent againfl them. 
The Piftoians thfcn called in the mediation of 
Siena ; by whofe decifion it was ordained, that the 
podefta and captain of the people for Piftoia mould 
not be chofen by the Lucchefe and Florentines, 
but by the Piftoians themfelves, provided that the 
ele&ion mould always fall upon fome citizen of 
Florence or Lucca. This award was fapported 
by the Tedici, Ricciardi, Rofli, Lazzari, and Sini- 
baldi, and others their followers, againft the will 
of the Taviani, Ughi, and Cancellieri, and their 
adherents both among the grandees and po- 
pular citizens. This difference of opinion occa- 

44 Piftoia. 

fioned quarrels and diflentions. The three fa- 
milies could not bear that the five families mould 
*lord if over the city ; each of thefe parties there- 
fore, flriving to drive out the other, without re- 
garding the expence or inconvenience, aflembled 
their friends and forces, marched through th'e 
country, laid wafte, combated, and affaflinated, in 
defiance of all government. But in the end, the 
Taviani having fallen into an ambufeade in the 
midfl of their enemies, near a river, fome w^re 
killed, others made prifoners, and the reft difperf- 
ed as fugitives ; and their fortrefs delle Piere di 
Montecuccoli, now called Valdibura, and the 
church of St. Simon, where they had been ufed to 
retreat, were facked and burnt. 

In 13 i6,the Piftoians conceived a jealoufy of the 
profperous fortune of Uguccione, not only qn ac- 
count of a fignal victory he had obtained againft the 
Guelphs, but becaufe he had been made lord of 
Pifa and Lucca, and had it in contemplation to 
reduce Piftoia to his power. But dilfimulating 
their fears, and to make him friendly and bene- 
volent to their city, the Piftoians chofe him for 
their podefta. Coming to Piftoia, he reftored the 
Cancellieri, the Taviani, the Ughi, and Sini- 

In 1317, the Piftoians, by reafon of the turbu- 
lence in Tufcany, put themfelves under the pro- 
tection of Robert king of Naples. Caftruccio 
Antelminelii, captain general of the wars of the 
Lucchefe, having conducted to a happy iflue many 
enterprizes for that community, thought of redu- 
cing to its dominion the city of Piftoia, by the 
means of its Bianchi exiles : but, after many fkir- 
mifhes arid mutual ravages of each others terri* 

* SignoreggiafTero la citta. 


Fioravanti. 45 

tory, a battle fought between him and Giulione, 
who commanded the Pifloian forces againft him, 
in which a decifive victory was obtained by the lat- 
ter, produced a treaty of peace between them, one 
article of which was, that the exiles mould be re- 
flored ; the Nri confenting to this rather than 
rifk a renewal of the war. 

In 1321, Uberto Cancellieri executed the office 
of podefta in the city of Padua, to the greateft fa- 
tisfadion of that people. And the fame year, 
Gio. Panciatichi gave clear proofs of fidelity and 
courage in the office of commiflary of Romagna, 
under Clement the Fifth and the people of Flo- 

From 1321 to 1330, the hiftory of this repub- 
lic is filled with wars, feditions, and intrigues, all 
fet on foot by the different contending parties, in 
order to elevate fome individual, a favourite, or a 
tool of their own, for the fovereign of the ftate. 
The fimple heads of the ftory muft fuffice. Caf- 
truccio commences a deftructive war upon the 
frontiers, to obtain the fovereignty of Piftoia for 
himfelf. Pittecciani betrays many caftles into his 
hands to favour his defigns, being probably in- 
clined to that party ; Pittecciani, however, is be^ 
headed for treafon by the Piftoians. Amidfl thefe 
calamities, Ormanno Tedici, conceives the delign 
of making himfelf the fovereign of Piftoia. The 
want of rain for eight months, and the devaftations 
of war, had occafioned a famine in Pifa, Lucca, and 
Piftoia. Upon this occafion Tedici, and Vanni Laz- 
zari, both rich and powerful, as well as proud and 
ambitious men, and confequently jealous of each 
other as rivals, appear upon the ftage : their in- 
trigues are full of all that duplicity and hypocrify, 
which is univerfal on fuch occasions*. Tedici 

* Fioravanti, lib. xix. 


46" Pi/lota. 

perfuades the Piftoians to a truce with Caftruccio, 
and feizes the piazza and pakce of the anziani 
with his partizans ; is made lord of Piftoia, and 
reforms the magiflrates of the city, and concludes 
the truce with Caftrucco, much againft the will 
of the other party. Having gone through all the 
ceremonies of a revolution, that is to fay, reverfed 
every thing, recalled exiles, &c. and governed the 
city fourteen months, his nephew, Philip di For- 
tebraccio Tedici, a youth full of ambition, con- 
fpired to take away the fovereignty from his uncle, 
and affume it to himfelf. To this end he began by 
correfponding with the Guelphs in exile, and by in- 
fufing into them a belief that his uncle entertained 
a fecret correfpondence with Caftruccio, to deliver 
Piftoia into his hands. The nephew, by other ar- 
tificial difcourfes and fimulated manners, exerted 
himfelf with the Guelphs to depofe his uncle, and 
reftore all the banifhed and fcattered members of 
the Guelph party. His fictions were credited, the 
refolution was taken with alacrity, they united 
themfelves with the impoftor, and, the better to 
obtain their defires, communicated their intentions 
to Neruccio Conte de Sarteano, a Guelph gentle- 
man of prudence and fagacity, and requefted his 
counfel and afiiftance ; who, deceived by the re- 
lation of facts, fo well invented and coloured by 
Philip, acknowledged, that if remedy was not im- 
mediately provided, Piftoia would fall into the 
hands of Caftruccio ; and offered them his cavalry, 
and promifed to exert all his force to obtain the 
ends they defirecL The uncle discovering the 
confpiracy, complained to his nephew, who roundly 
aflerted it to be a fiction of malice ; arid went 
immediately to the heads of the plot, told them 
that the abbe his uncle was informed of all, held 
a ftiort confutation with them, in which it was re- 


Fioravanfi. 47 

folved to rife at once, and carry into execution 
what they had intended. The confpirators af- 
fembling in the morning, and taking arms in fea- 
fon, rufhed with Philip to the piazza, fcattered 
the guards, by putting to death all who refitted, 
took the place, ran through the city, aflaulted the 
palace of the anziani, occupied the gates, and 
garnimed the walls with their people, and Philip 
remained lord and fovereign of Piftoia. This 
done, Philip called together the council of the 
people, obtained the title of captain, and taking 
the fovereignty of the eity on himfelf, reformed 
it with new anziani and magiftrates, and, govern- 
ing feverely, made himfelf feared by all men. The 
abbe Tedici, having loll the lordmip of Piftoia, 
and eager to regain the pofleflion of it, machi- 
nated with his other nephews and adherents to 
throw out of the window of the public palace his 
nephew Philip ; and going with his followers to 
the palace, he was introduced alone to a confe- 
rence with the artful Philip, by his exprefs order, 
who immediately ordered the gates to be fhut 
againft the other confpirators, and with a very 
few words again impofed on his uncle, and made 
him prifoner. Philip, thus liberated from the 
fnares of his uncle, fuddenly renewed the truce 
with Caftruccio. He conducted his negociations, 
both with Florence and Caftruccio, with fo much 
duplicity, that he deceived both : there are few 
examples of deeper fimulation, more exquifite ad- 
drefs, or of felfifh knavery of a blacker dye, than 
he praftifed with his uncle, with the Florentines, 
and Caftruccio. After obtaining of the Florentines 
the creation of his fon a knight of the golden fpur, 
three thoufand golden florins for himfelf, and noble 
matches and rich dowries for his two daughters, 
of the Florentines, he married himfelf to Dialta, 


48 .Piftoia. 

the daughter of Caftruccio, and delivered Piftoia 
into his hands. Caftruccio immediately informs 
the emperor Louis of Bavaria of his new acquifi- 
tion : and Louis fends to this great man, fo faith- 
ful and ardent in his fervice, a commiflion to go- 
vern Piftoia as his imperial vicar. Florence makes 
war to recover the city ; but are beaten by Caf- 
truccio, who receives the emperor afterwards in 
Piftoia, and is made by him duke both of Lucca 
and Piftoia, and foon after dies. If he had lived, 
the example would probably have here been com- 
plete ; the continual altercations of the .principal 
families having completely overturned the confti- 
tution^ and introduced an abfolute monarchy. 
But his death opened a door for ftill further con- 
tentions. M. Vinciguerra di Aftancallo Pancia- 
tica, prefect of the royal militia of France, and a 
general in the wars of Normandy, came into the 
fervice of the Florentines at this time, with the 
character of general, and rendered himfelf memo- 
rable to pofterity, and moft grateful to his family, 
by having built, in four years, his fuperb palace 
in Piftoia, in the parifh of St. Matthew. The 
foils of the deceafed Caftruccio thought, by the 
favour of the Vergiolefi, Chiarenti, Tedici, and 
other powerful families in Piftoia, to get them- 
felves acknowledged as fovereigns of that city j 
and to this end procured an armed force to take 
pofleffion of the piazza and palace of the anziani : 
but the imperial vicar, with his 400 German 
guards, and by the favour of the Muli, Gualfre- 
ducci, and Panciatichi, families fufficiently power r 
ful, gave battle to theYons of Caftruccio, and drove 
them out of Piftoia, into the mountains of Lucca. 
The Florentines, taking advantage of the divifions 
and confufions in Piftoia, excited their people fud- 
denly to war, and went and laid fiege to Carmi- 

gnano ; 

FioravantL 4.9 

gnano ; and after many fierce battles for fifteen 
days it furrendered, which made the Florentines,, 
with the Guelph exiles, very infolent, ravaging 
the country, preventing the farmers from fowing 
their grounds, and threatening even the walls of 

In this ftate of things, there arofe in Piftoia two 
potent factions ; one denominated from the houfe 
of Vergiolefi, and the other from that of Pancia- 
tichi. The Vergiolefians, adhering to the govern- 
ment of the imperial vicar, by means of the fear 
of the 400 Germans who were in Piftoia, induced 
a good part of the people to refufe their confent 
to a peace with the Florentines and Guelphs. 
The Panciatichans, with their followers, not 
judging good and ufeful for the city the fentiment 
of the Vergiolefians, efteemed it more advantageous 
to make peace, than to maintain the country in 
fubje&ion to the avidity of the Bavarian and his 
minifters. But the other party determined to in- 
terrupt the treaty, by exciting the city to an uproar, 
and by parading the ftreets with their Germans, 
by whom many of the people were aflfaflinated. 
The people, finding themfelves thus ill-treated, 
collecting together, fell upon thefe Germans : there 
followed a ikirmifh, fo ferious, that many were 
killed, many furrendered prifoners, and thofe who 
efcaped were obliged to fly with their vicar to 
Lucca. In the mean time Ricciardo di Lazzaro 
Cancellieri, a Guelph exile from Piftoia, fecretly 
affifted by the Florentines, and rendered powerful, 
both by the money and the bravery of his Guelphs, 
underftanding the difunion in Piftoia, marched in- 
to the mountains of Piftoia with great terror, to 
acquire poffeffion of fome confifcated cafties of his 
party. This occafioned great difguft and alarm 
to all in the city, and occafioned Giovanni Pan- 
.VoL. III. H ciatichi 

50 Plftola. 

ciatichi to go out with his fa&ion to oppofe him ; 
who attacking his enemy with great fpirit, pre- 
vented him from making himfelfthe Lord of that 
extenfive country. The Panciatichi, then, the 
Muli, and the Gualfreducci, pufhing the advan- 
tage they had gained, and fufpe&ing fome treafon 
from the Vergiolefi, applying themfelves at once to 
cut off all the means to fuch defigns, with all di- 
ligence applied to the anziani to aflemble the ge- 
neral council, by whom were banifhed and impri- 
foned out of-Piftoia, all the fons and relations of 
Caftruccio, Philip Tedici, Charles his fon, with 
all their families, and confifcated all their goods 
and eftates ; and to make fure of the imprifon- 
ment or the deaths of the Tedici, a reward was 
offered of five hundred florins of gold. This 
done, they made the peace with Florence, and 
four knights of the golden fpur were made by the 
Florentines, two of the family of Panciatichi, one 
of the family of Muli, and one of the Gualfreducci, 
in gratitude for their important fervices ; and 
both cities fubmitted to the church, and banifhed 
the emperor. 

The common people about this time began to 
be weary of the cabals of the principal families, 
but were too ignorant to contrive any method to 
reftrain them, but that which always renders them 
ftili more defperate and deftruclive to the commu- 
nity, an attempt to bring all upon a level. 

The fafhion at funerals had become fo expenfive, 
that every one exceeded his proper abilities in 
making a mow ; and the Piftoians, not without 
giving occafion for ridicule, attempted to regu- 
late the expence upon fuch occafions, by decreeing 
a rigorous uniform for the ufe of all. At the fame 
time, confidering the bleffings and advantages of 
uniform and clear laws, and that the people by 


Fiordvanti. 5 1 

the means of them are rendered tractable, and lefs 
haughty and audacious, they prepared certain fta- 
tutes and provifions for the good government of 
their city. And as it appeared to them, that fome 
of the principal families arrogated to themfelves 
an undue ftiarg in the management of public af- 
fairs, and were difpofed by force to opprefs the po- 
pular men, they determined that all offences 
againft the popular men ihould be feverely pu- 
nilhed, and that the next noble relation of any 
grandee mould be obliged to pay any pecuniary 
mulct which mould be inflicted, in cafe his eftate 
was not fufficient to difcharge it ; and in cafe the 
delinquent was fentenced to a capital punifhment, 
and efcaped by any means from juftice, his next 
relation among the grandees mould pay a thoufand 
pounds. Although nothing can be conceived 
more inconfiftent with liberty, equity, or humani- 
ty, than thele laws, yet the terror of them is faid 
to have procured a momentary tranquillity ; efpe- 
cially as certain companies of armed militia of the 
popular party were inftituted in the four quarters 
of the city, to force them, abitrary, oppreflive, 
and cruel as they were, into execution. But this 
militia was not long able to controul the fpirit of 
diforder, and it became neceffary to provide a 
ftronger bridle for unquiet and feditious fpirits, 
and a new and mod rigorous law mult be made to 
beat down their arrogance and infolence. The 
plebeians at this time feeling themfelves the true 
and real grandees, and at the higheft fummit of 
power, ordained by a law, that all thofe, of what- 
ever condition they might be, who mould give 
themfelves up to an evil life, and give offence to 
the popular party, and diflurb the quiet of the 
city or country, mould be, as a punilhment for 
their actions, denominated " grandees" (grandi, e 


52 Piftoia. 

tnagnati), and excluded from the magiftracies, 
and all management of public affairs, and be fub- 
jected to other punimments. It is true that the 
gentlemen had ftill fome (hare in the government, 
becaufe the plebeians, that they might not make 
too many enemies at once, did not feek to exclude 
from public offices all the nobles, but felefted 
from the number divers houfes of the mod pacific, 
and the greateft lovers of juftice, as it was pre- 
tended, and placed them among the popular men, 
to take away their power from the others, and fe- 
cure it to themfelves. No gentleman however of 
the popular party was permitted to make any of- 
tentation of his nobility ; fo that if any one of the 
popular men was made a knight by any prince or 
republic, he was fuddenly deprived of his office : 
whence many of the nobles, who wifhed to enjoy 
all the benefits of the popular men, were obliged, 
by a fimulated refpect to the plebeians, to lay afide 
their arms and furnames, to diftinguifh themfelves 
from their peers recorded for grandees. Other 
nobles there were, who chofe rather to be exclud- 
ed from all public offices, and live expofed to the 
rigorous laws of the grandees, than to lay afide 
their arms or furnames, jealous of obfcuring the 
ancient hereditary fplendour of their anceflors. 
In this however they were deceived, for the prin- 
cipal popular men took care to preferve their dif- 
tindion, by a law, " That if by a ftatute nobles 
were made populars, they do not lofe by that their 
nobility ;" and by another law, declaring many to 
be magnati, it is fubjoined, " the reft we under- 
ftand to be populars, although born of noble race 
and progeny." From this it was contended, that 
thofe were deceived who meafured the antiquity 
and nobility of their own or other families by 


fioravanti. 53 

the rule of the enjoyment of the principal ma- 

In 1332 feveral of the mpft powerful families, 
arrogating too much authority in public affairs, 
or, in other words, being found by the plebeians to 
have too much influence for them to be able to 
controul, fuch diflenfions and difturbances arofe, 
that it was thought neeefiary to declare them in 
the number of the grandees : and accordingly it 
appears by the records, that the Cancellieri, Gual- 
freducci, Muli, Ughi, Panciatichi, Taviani, Ric- 
ciardi, Tedici, Sinibaldi, Zebertelli, Vergiolefi, 
Roffi, Lazzari, Forteguerri, Vifconti, Forefi, and 
others, that is, all the principal families in the na- 
tion, were declared to be magnati, ftigmatized 
with that odious appellation, and excluded from 
all fhare in public offices. In this year fevere 
fumptuary laws againft effeminate luxury were 
made by the council, the folemnities and expences 
of weddings were regulated, and the cloathing of 
men. Extravagant fafhions in thefe things had 
tempted mofl people to exceed their revenues, 
had multiplied debtors, and rendered dubious and 
difficult the credit of merchants : certain wife ci- 
tizens were authorized td prepare regulations of 
this kind ; and they fucceeded to make fuch wife 
Jaws, that frauds and abufes became lefs common. 
Yet the caprice and inflability of this government 
appears very remarkable at this time ; for although 
the Cancellieri were the year before recorded for 
grandees, yet in 1333 Ricciardo Cancellieri was 
declared a knight by the council of the people of 
Pifloia, and was feafled at the public expence. 
When any one was made a knight by any fove- 
reign, or any city, he became fuddenly noble, al- 
though he had not been fo by birth ; for birth, at 
*hat time, was neither necefiary to nobility nor to' 


54 Piftoia. 

knighthood. The ceremony of arming the knight 
was made with great folemnity, receiving the mi- 
litary girdle from the other knights*. 

In 1336 the Piftoians lamented the death of 
their moft beloved citizen Cino, their greateft 
lawyer and judge, the mafter of Bartolo and Pe- 

In 1342 Piftoia was obliged to capitulate with 
the duke of Athens, who held the government of 
it three years, and ruled it as tyrannically as he 
did Florence. 

In 1344 the government was recovered from 
the duke of Athens ; and, to remedy the infinite 
tumults which were daily excited by the power 
of the families of the magnati, who by their 
riches and adherents made their authority and in- 
fluence prevail, it was ordained, that in time of any 
rumour or uproar it mould not be lawful for any 
popular man to enter the houfe of any grandee, 
and if by chance any one mould be in fuch a houfe 
at fuch a time, he mould immediately quit it, that 
he might not be under the temptation to affift the 
grandee, upon pain of the lofs of all public offices, 
and confiscation of all his goods. And none of 
thefe powerful families, whom they branded with 
the name of grandees, could go into the fervice of 
any prince, city or republic, if he had not firft 
obtained the permiffion of the general council, on 
pain of being declared rebels : and that the fami- 
lies of the grandees might be known to all, the 
following defcription and declaration of them was 
made and publimed by authority ; viz. " Omnes 
de domo Cancellariorum, omnes de domo Guafre- 
ducciorum, Tediciorum, Lazarorum, Vifconto- 
j Panciaticorum, Ugorum, Mulorum, Ta- 

* Fioravanti, p. 301. 

vianorum ? 

Fioravanti. 55 

vianorum, Sinibaldorum, Vergiolenfium, Rubeo- 
rum, Ricciardorum ;" which grandees, in time of 
any rumour or ftrife, may not go out of their 
houfes, unlefs called by the captain gonfalonier 
and anziani. 

The Piftoians, informed of the robberies, aflafli- 
nations, and havock, which were daily committed 
by certain rebels in the fuperior mountains, and of 
the treafons plotting by thofe of Serravalle againft 
the peace and quiet of the commons of Piftoia, 
they did not negleft to ufe the neceflary expedi- 
tion to chaftife the infolence of the former, and 
to divert the malignity of the latter : againft the 
former they fent out a body of foldiers, who put 
the rebels to flight, and pulled down their houfes ; 
againft the latter they promulgated fevere laws, 
with a promife of a thoufand pounds reward to 
any one who would accufe an accomplice of trea- 

To fbow the inefficacy of all fuch democra- 
tical defpotifm againft the principal families in a 
community, as the declarations of grandeeifm were, 
Frederick Cancellieri, furnamed for his great va- 
lour Barbarofla, had influence enough to obtain 
fo great a diftin&ion and fo popular and honour- 
able a poft as the command of the troops, raifed 
and paid by Piftoia, to go upon the expedition for 
the conqueft of the Holy Land ; Angiolo Cancel- 
lieri was made a bifhop, and rofe faft in the 
church ; and Nicolo Cancellieri, as captain of the 
Florentines, acquired immortal glory by befteging 
in his own palace, and depofingfrom the govern- 
ment of Florence, Walter duke of Athens ; and 
Marcello Cancellieii alfo made himfelf illuftrious 
as a divine, and obtained the place of auditor of 
the tower at Rome. 

So much of the time of the hufbandman, the 

artizan ? 

5 6 Piftoia. 

artizan, and the people in general, was taken up 
in war at home and abroad, and the fields were fo 
often laid wafte, that it was impoflible to obtain 
a conftant and certain fupply of provifions for the 
people. The confequence of this was famine and 
the plague, two other evils in thofe days fpring- 
ing with innumerable others, from their imper- 
fect government. The plague and famine, which, 
in the courfe of the pad year, had nearly deprived 
Piftoia of inhabitants, at length ceafmg, and the 
few that remained were fo grieved and aftonifhed at 
fuch a calamity, that one would have thought their 
minds too much foftened and humbled to engage 
again for fome time in their nefarious tumults : 
but the few furviving citizens found as much dif- 
union and animofity among them as ever. Frefh 
diforders arofe, and there was no poflibility of re- 
ilraining the indignation and fury of the two fa- 
milies of Panciatica and Cancellieri, who, upon 
fome diflatisfaclion arifing among them, fell into 
fuch quarrels, that, as each party had many adhe- 
rents, many murders and much flaughter followed ; 
and much greater would have enfued, if the people 
had not run together to feparate the combatants, 
and compelled them to retire to their houfes. 
To prevent the prevalence and increafe of thefe 
diforders, the citizens called together the general 
council, by whom it was ordered that diligent in- 
quifition mould be made after the heads of the 
tumult, and a rigorous profecution was commenced 
againft Richard Cancelliero and Gio. Panciatichi, 
the heads of the two families ; who, although 
they humbled themfelves, and afked pardon for 
the error they had committed, and made an entire 
reconciliation with each other, were condemned 
in a fine of 500 pounds each, to be paid to the 
commons of Piftoia, and were obliged to ratify by 


Fioravanti. 57 

an oath, in full council, the peace they had made 
betv/een them. But notwithstanding all this, nei- 
ther of the families really laid afide their envy, jea- 
loufy, hatred, and malice againft the other; for their 
principals having, rather from the fear of juftice 
than a defire of tranquillity, made their peace be- 
tween them, they applied themfelves daily to pro- 
vide arms and men, and finally proclaimed them- 
felves openly to be mortal enemies to each other, 
and gave rife to the factions of the Panciatichi and 
Cancellieri, from whence arofe fuch actions and 
events as brought a final ruin on themfelves, their 
relations, their friends, and the city itfelf. 

" I reflect, with aftoniihment and ftupefa&ion," 
fays Fioravanti, * that the Piftoians, abandoning, 
without caufe or reafon, their native fagacity, and 
becoming fa&ionaries, mould have fomented the 
paffions of thofe two particular families ; have con- 
tended for the vanity of pre-eminence, atanexpence 
of fo many crimes againft the public peace; and 
have employed all their forces againft the tranquil- 
lity of liberty in that city, celebrated through the 
whole world for men illuftnous in arms, in letters, 
in fanclity, and wifdom ; prudent in her laws and 
in her government to fuch a degree, that foreign 
republics had followed her example in their laws. 
Neverthelefs, thus it was, for giving themfelves up 
a prey to their griefs and afflictions, they deprived 
themfelves of all repofe, and making the paffions 
of a few common to them all, loft their liberty 
and their government ; bleflings which till this 
time had been preferved not without the envy of 
their rival cities!" This writer needed not, however, 
have been fo much furprifed, if he had confidered 
the nature of man, and compared it with the na- 
ture of a government in which all authority is 
collected into one centre. An attentive reader 


5 8 fiftoia. 

will be furprifed at the boaft of that tranquillity 
and liberty hitherto enjoyed ; and will be at a lofs 
to find one moment in the whole hiftory where 
there could have been any degree of either. 

Arbitrary laws of exclufion and difqualification, 
and awkward attempts to expofe to popular odi- 
um the principal families, made without the lead 
modefty or equity by a popular majority, will ne- 
ver have weight enough with the people to an- 
Iwer thedefignof them. Thofe families will ftili 
retain an influence with the people, and have a 
party at their command, very nearly equal to that 
of the majority ; and being juftly irritated and 
provoked at the injuftice done them, will never 
want a difpofition to attempt dangerous enter- 
prizes. The family of the Cancellieri, though 
ftigmatized and difqualified as grandees, were ftill 
held in great efteem, among all ranks, for their 
riches and numerous adherents. Richard, the 
head of the family, ftimulated by his own refent- 
ment and ambition, and no doubt excited by his 
partizans, had the prefumption to entertain 
thoughts of making himfelf fovereign lord of his 
country. Courting the people to this end by his 
liberality, affability, and courtefy, he waited only 
for a favourable opportunity to acquire it. Hav- 
ing filled his houfe with a large number of per- 
fons, his countrymen and foreigners, heiuddenly 
marched out with thefe and his relations to af- 
fault the piazza and the palace of the ajiziani : but 
being met by the captain of the families of the 
anziani, with his rnen, and with thefe many of the 
grandees, and a multitude of the little people, ad- 
herents of the Panciatichi, the Cancellieri were 
repulfed with great fpirit, and perceiving their 
lives in great danger, they fled and fhut thern- 
felves up in the houfe of the Bonducci their 


Fioravanti. $g 

friends. Their fa&ionaries, feeing themfelves 
\vithout an head, in diforder and defeated, fled 
in defpair out of the city by the gate of St. 
Mark. The Panciatichi, having thus conquered 
Richard, proceeded with great violence to burn 
the houfes of the CancellierL Richard was out- 
rageous at the deftruclion of his houfes and the 
flight of his followers : but being informed that 
they were waiting for him in the country, he 
fcaled the walls in the night, went out to meet 
them, took the cattle of Mariana, and there 
fortified himfelf. With the Cancellieri on their 
flank, and Gio. Vifconti of Milan, and lord of 
Bologna and all Lombardy, in their neighbour- 
hood, each with a party defirous of making 
them lords of Piftoia, the Piftoians were ob- 
liged to put themfelves under the protection of 
Florence, upon certain conditions. Richard Can- 
cellieri hearing of this, went to Florence, and with 
plaufible reafons made it there believed that the 
Panciatichi held a fecret correfpondence with Vif- 
conti, to deliver Piftoia into his hands. The 
Florentines thought they might as well govern 
Piftoia themfelves, and have it wholly at their de- 
votion, and immediately gave Richard the com- 
mand of horfe and foot, to go and fubdue it. The 
attack was made in the night, and would pro- 
bably have fucceeded, if the enfigns of Florence 
had not been imprudently difplayed, which fo en- 
raged the Piftoians, that refolving to die rather 
than fubmit, they repulfed their invaders. The 
Florentines fent a formidable reinforcement ; but 
the Piftoians defended themfelves with intripidity 
till they aflembled their general council ; and al- 
though Gio. Panciatichi was an infamous grandee, 
he was (till the foul of the republic, and no other 
ma n had enough of the confidence of his fellow- 

6o Piftoia. 

citizens to be fent ambafTador and entrufted with 
their falvation. He executed his commiflion, 
convinced the Florentines that they had been de- 
ceived by Cancellieri, and made an honourable 
peace ; and in 1352 the Piftoians afllfled Florence 
effectually in defending itfelf againft the army of 
Vifconti of Milan. 

In 1353 the attention of all parties was turned 
to peace, to put an end for once to all the troubles 
of Italy, and it was finally concluded between all 
the Guelph cities of Tufcany, viz. Jlorence, Siena, 
Pifloia, Peragia, Arezzo, city of Caftello, and 
others of one fide, 'and Gio. Vifconti on the other, 
with certain pacts and conditions ; among which 
Vifconti releafed freely into the hands of Piftoia 
the caftles and fortrefles of Piteccio, Torri, Trep- 
pio, Fofifato, Montecelli, and Sambuca ; and on 
all fides were releafed all the exiles. By virtue of 
which article were reflored to Piftoia the families 
of the Ammanati, Tedici, Vergiolefi, Gualfreduc- 
ci, and others, and all their property was reftored 
to them. 

RichardCancellieri, neverthelefs, in 1 354,being 
flill obnoxious to the Panciatichi, did not ceafe to 
flrengthen his party, by foliciting the friendfhip 
of thofe who might be ufeful to his views. To 
this end he formed an intimate friendfhip with 
the captain of the guards at Florence, of whom 
he expected to make an eflential ufe in all occur- 
rences. But the Panciatichi, jealous of this inti- 
macy, complained of it bitterly to the Florentines, 
who, to pleafe them, difmiffed their officer, but at 
the fame time exhorted the complainants to live 
quietly, and lay down their arms ; for that at all 
events, and at any expence, as authors of the peace 
between the two families, they were determined to 
maintain it. At this time fbme difquiet arofe be- 

Fioravanti. 6 

tween the different members of the Cancellieri 
family, one of whom, Pievano, joined the Pancia^ 
tichi, and brought an accufation before the Floren- 
tines againft Richard, that he meditated againft 
them fome great treafon. A procefs was inftituted, 
Richard was found innocent, and the accufer and 
the heads of the infurredtion were feverely punifh- 
ed, while Richard was honourably acquitted. 

The emperor Charles the Fourth made a grant 
to the Piftoians to govern themfelves by their own 
laws and laubablecuftoms, in a free popular ftate, 
under the guidance of the anziani and gonfalonier 
of juftice, whom he made perpetual vicars of the 
holy Roman empire. That this iketch may not 
be protracted to an immeafurable length, we may 
pafs over the rebellions and wars between 1355 
and 1376, when the diffatisfa&ions among the ci- 
tizens of Piftoia were fo increafed by the reform 
of officers in 1373, that tumults arofe to fuch a 
height, that the Florentines, who defired nothing 
more than to become lords of Piftoia, or to fee it 
deftroyed, becaufe it was rich, noble' and power- 
ful, thought it a favourable opportunity to infinu- 
ate themfelves with their meditated 'defigns. Un- 
der the fpecious colour of peace and quiet, 'they 
annulled the late reform ; and by new laws, under 
pretence of taking away the fcandalpus names of 
the two factions of the Panciatichi and Cancellieri, 
divided the offices into two orders, called one the 
company of St. John, and the other the company 
of St. Paul ; fo that the moiety of the citizens, 
exclufively of the grandees, who could not enjoy 
before the benefit of the imborfation, were now 
imborfed in the purfe of the company of St. John, 
and the other moiety in the purfe of the company 
of St. Paul ; and to obtain the fupreme magiftrate 
there were drawn four, one for the quarter of the 


6 a Piftola. 

purfe of St. John, and four, in the proportion of 
one for each quarter, for the purfe of St. Paul ; and 
the gonfalonier was to be drawn alternately, once 
from one purfe, and another time from the other. 
And becaufe the company of St. John was pro- 
tected by the Cancellieri, it immediately followed 
that it declared itfeif of that faction ; and that of 
St. Paul, protected by the Panciatichi, declared 
itfeif openly of the faction of Panciatichi : and in 
this manner, inflead of extinguiming the fire, it in- 
creafed to fuch a degree, that it fpread not only in 
the city, but through all its teritory ; and Piftoia 
was reduced to a condition fo deplorable, as to be 
obliged to abandon all domeftic fociety and fami- 
liarity, every one being fufpicious not only of his 
neighbours and relations, but of his bofom friends. 

In 1383 all ranks of people exceeded their abi- 
lities in expences at funerals, and in other effemi- 
nate luxury : fumptuary laws were made againft 
extravagant expences ; but the hiftorian confeflcs, 
that although he thought there was reafon for 
them, yet, as he could not read them himfelf with- 
out laughing, he feared he mould do no good by 
relating them. 

The Piftoians having beftowed all their endea- 
vours and ftudies to obtain a peace with Belogna, 
with whom they had long been at war on account 
of boundaries, now hoped to live happily ; but 
they were again tormented with infurrections, at- 
tended with rapine, burnings, and murders innu- 

The news arrived in Piftoia, in 1390, that John 
Galeazzo Vifconti had fent againft the Florentines 
an army of twenty thoufand men, under the com- 
mand of Jacopo de Verme. This war laded fe- 
veral years, and was brought upon the city by its 


Fioravanti. 63 

The Piftoians had now been eight and thirty 
years in fome fenfe dependent on Florence ; for 
in 1350, after the great commotions, they had en- 
tered into a ftipulation, by Richard Cancellieri 
their fellow-citizen, with the people of Florence, 
tdTkeep forever a purfe of fix popular Florentine 
citizens, from which mould be drawn their captain 
of the people. In this year, 1 398, for the fake of a 
more intimate connection and familiarity with the 
commons of Florence, it was farther ftipulated, 
that for the future the podefla of Piftoia mould 
be a Florentine. 

Continual animofities had occafioned in the 
minds of the citizens fuch wearinefs, grief, and 
compunction, that it is impoflible to read, without 
commiferation, their awkward attempts to reconcile 
themfelves with one another, and to extirpate their 
civil difcords, with which Piftoia was furioufly 
agitated. The whole people, of every age, fex, 
and condition, were perfuaded to go in proceilion 
through the city, clothed in white facks, to afk 
mutually each others pardon, and to cry " Miferi- 
cordia e pace !" (mercy and peace !) and there 
can be no doubt that a momentary benevolence, 
and many ats of Chriftian charity, mud have been 
produced by a pilgrimage fo folernn and affefting ; 
but the defects in the conftitution of their govern- 
ment were not amended by it, and the troubles of 
the people foon revived. 

The jealoufies of the Cancellieri and Panciati- 
chi revived, and proceeded to fuch lengths, that in 
1401 Richard Cancellieri, to revenge himfelf, be- 
gan a fecret treaty with Vifconti duke of Milan, to 
deliver the City of Piftoia into his hands, that he 
might govern it with his abfolute power, and ex- 
terminate the faction of the Panciatichi. The 
plot was difcovered, and Richard and all his chil- 

64 Pi/lota. 

dren declared rebels, and their houfes reduced to 
afhes. Richard in the country joined with other 
exiles, and burned the houfes of the Panciatichi. 
The Piftoians were now alarmed with the danger, 
from the Vifconti and Cancellieri in concert, that 
they were obliged to put themfelves into the hands 
of the Florentines. The Canceilieri carried on 
the war however with fo much fpirit and fuccefs, 
that, although the duke of Milan died in 1402, 
Richard was able, in 1403, to obtain a peace, by 
which the (late of Piftoia was obliged to reftore 
his family to all their eftates, and make good all 
their lofles. The Panciatichi agreed to this, that 
the confent of all the leaders might be obtained 
to lay this burden on the people, by whom the 
damages done to the Panciatichi too were to be re- 

In 1420 it was ordained, that in the new reform 
of magiftrates and public officers, the families who 
had been ftigmatized with the opprobrious name 
of grandees mould be reftored to the rights of ci- 
tizens, and (hare in the management of public 
affairs. But thefe beginning, with their j|fual im- 
pertinence, to procure that every thing (hould be 
done as they would have it, and all offices difpofed 
by their influence, quarrels and diflentions among 
the citizens arofe, by which the whole city fell in- 
to the greateft agitation : whence it was neceflary, 
for the maintenance of the public peace, to ex- 
clude them afrefh from public affairs. Thefe fa- 
milies were the Panciatichi, Roffi, Sinibaldi, Ughi, 
Taviani, Vergiolefi, Lazari, Cancellieri, Ricciar- 
di, Vifconti, Gualfreducci, and Tedici. 

The ladies indulged in great expences in the 
furniture of their houfes, and in the fuperfluous 
ornaments of their perfons and families. The ge- 
neral council thought it neceflary to interpofe, and 


Fioravanti. 6$ 

prohibit all clothes to be lined with foregin furs, 
or to be embroidered with pearls, gold, or filver, 
or other expenfive and fuperfluous decorations j 
and becaufe that all former laws for the fame pur- 
pofe had been found ineffe&ual, they were now 
renewed with moft rigorous penalties. 

In 1455 a civil war broke out in the territory of 
Piftoia, called Alliani, between the Caneellieri and 
Panciatichi, which fpread into the city, and went 
to fuch furious lengths, that the ladies themfelves 
took arms, and fought with as much bravery as 
the gentlemen, to revenge the {laughter of their 
relations ; and before this commotion was ended, 
the flaves or what they call the vaffals or villains, 
took arms* And no method to reftore peace 
could be devifed, till Florence was requefted to 
fend four commifiaries, who compelled the Can- 
eellieri and Panciatichi to take an oath to be 
peaceable, and who feafted the villains till they 
were quieted. 

Infurre&ions, tumults and civil wars, continued 
in 1476, and indeed, with very little intermiffion, 
till 1485. 

In 1485 Baldinotto Baldinotti, forefeeing that 
Lorenzo de Medici might poflibly arrive at the 
Sovereignty of Piftoia, confidering the great- repu- 
tation, influence, and authority, which he enjoyed 
in that city, laid a plot to take him off. As a 
lover of the liberty of his country, he thought it 
juft and honourable to go with his own fon, and 
lie in wait in the way*between Poggio and Cajario, 
by which he knew Lorenzo was to pafs, in his 
journey to Piftoia, to the feaft of St. James. But 
the confidants of Lorenzo having difcovered the 
defign, the confpirators were without delay appre- 
hended, carried prifoners to Florence, and there 
punifhed with death. 

VOL. IIL K Another 



Another civil war between the Cancellieri and 
Panciatichi, attended with its cuftomary cruelty and 
devaftation,occurred, and was not compofed till the 
Florentines fummoned four of each party 5 and com- 
pelled them to give fecurity, that for the future no 
quarrels, murders, burnings, or robberies, mould 
be committed in Piftoia. But this anfwered the 
end only in part, for the parties went out of the 
limits of the ftate, and there committed all forts of 
cruelties on one another ; and in 1490 the civil 
war was renewed in the city. 

On the death of the emperor Frederick the 
Third, Maximilian his fon fucceeded to the throne 
of the empire ; but delaying his entry into Italy, 
gave occafion to Louis Sforza, tutor of the duke 
of Milan, to invite Charles the Eighth, king of 
France, to come to the conqueft of Naples. Upon 
this occafion the Piftoians threw off their fubjec- 
tion to Florence, or rather broke off the connec- 
tion. But this acquifition of liberty and inde- 
pendence, had a fhort duration ; for the Piftoians 
knew they could enjoy no tranquillity under their 
own government, and with their own parties : af- 
ter two years negociation, they agreed to a new 
convention in 1496. 

The families of the grandees, or impertinents,' 
as they were called, revived their pretenfions to 
be admitted to the honours and public offices of 
the commonwealth, but as this was contrary to 
the popular will, and the pafiions and intereft of 
their leaders, tumults enfiiEd. The pretenfions 
of thefe families were countenanced by the Flo- 
rentines, but the popular men, -in the plenitude of 
their power, oppofed it with fo much refolution, 
that nothing new was effected. 

Plague and famine raged in Piftoia to fuch a 
degree, that fome were in tiopes that the citizens 


FioravantL 67 

would put an end to difcqrd and fedition, and at 
ieait endeavour to enjoy peace ; but the people, 
trampling under foot ail laws, human and divine, 
began to renew, both in the city and the country, 
their oppositions and enmities, which proceeded 
to fuch feats of arms and mutual (laughter, that 
they were again obliged to have recourfe to the 
Imperial vicars in Florence, to interpofe and put 
an end to thofe ftrange accidents which threatened 
the total deitruction of the country. 

The diffenfions of parties in the city and its 
territory, being fomewhat abated, the citizens .be- 
gan to flatter themfelves with the hopes of quiet ; 
but neglecting to provide a remedy againfl the 
emulations of private intereft, in individuals and fa- 
milies, by feparating the executive power from the 
legiflative, rivalries arofe, which produced fuch 
ruin, both to the country and the contending fa- 
milies, as has been deplored by all fubfequent ge- 
nerations. The fact was, that by the death of 
Buonaccorfi, a director of an hofpital of St. Gre- 
gory, it was neceflary to proceed to the election 
of a fucceflbr. On the loth of October, 1499, 
had been balloted for, and approved as fuit- 
able, by the general council, four fubjects or per- 
fons, among whom one, who fhould be con- 
firmed and approved by the bifhop of Pifloia ac- 
cording to the law, fhould obtain the office. The 
council having difcharged their duty in the nomi- 
nation of the four, the ordinary proceeded to re- 
ject two of them, one after another, and left the 
competition undecided between Piero Terchio and 
Bernardo Nutini, each of whom endeavoured to 
intereft his friends in his favour. Terchio was 
protected by the Panciatichi, and Nutini by 
the Cancellieri. The bifhop was at Florence, 
whence it happened that Salimbene Panciati- 

68 Pifloia. 

chi caufed to be confirmed, as director of the 
hofpital, his friend Terchio, by the canonical Jacob 
Panciatichi, under colour of his being the apoflo- 
lical legate ; and fending to Florence for the appro- 
bation of the bifhop, the good prelate promifed to 
comply. The Cancellieri hearing of this, went 
alfo to Florence to fupplicate the bifhop not to 
approve the election ; but the bifhop who was 
determined to keep his word, would not liften to 
them. Seeing that they could not move him from 
his promife, they applied themfelves to obtain the 
felicitations of his friends and relations, with fuch 
afliduity and importunity, that the irrefolute pre- 
late was at laft induced to comply with their 
requeft. The Panciatichi, understanding the 
ftrange refolution of the prelate, had recourfe to 
the priori of the people and the gonfalonier of 
juflice of their country, and obtained an order, 
that to Nutini, who had the fmaller number of 
votes, the pofleflion of the hofpital fhould not be 
given, but to Terchio, who. for good reafons 
ought to have k ; and Terchio, accompanied by 
fome of the Panciatichi, was placed in the govern- 
ment of the hofpital. The Cancellieri, returning 
from Florence with the confirmation of the bifhop 
In the perfon of Nutini, carried him to the hofpi- 
tal to give him pofleflion, but found .the place 
occupied ; whereupon, returning to Florence, they 
carried their complaint to the rector > and after 
much altercation between the parties, it was de* 
termined that the affair mould be decided in a 
court of juftiee, and the caufe committed to two 
lawyers. The judges determined that Nutini had 
been elected and canonically confirmed, and he 
was accordingly put into the office, againft all that 
could be {aid or done by the Panciatichi, who, 
ppon pain of being declared rebels, were obliged 


Fioravanti. 69 

to abandon the hofpital, which they had held well 
guarded, and give way to the execution of the 
fentence. The Cancellieri were made infolent by 
their victory, and fometimes by their words, and 
fometimes by their actions, affumed an haughty 
fuperiority over the contrary party ; who, finding 
themfelves deceived, offended, and derided, not 
only by the Cancellieri but by the bifhop, went 
about venting and propagating their paflions 
among the people : whence it happened, that hof- 
tilities beginning between thefe two families, they 
never ceafed till they ruined the city of Piftoia. 

The Panciatichi could not cancel from their 
minds the many and enormous injuries they had 
received from the Cancellieri, and now meditated a 
cruel revenge. On the 5th of February, 1 500, they 
unexpectedly afiaulted, in the piazza, BaccinoNu- 
tini and others, and having mortally wounded 
Georgio Tonti, they ran haftily through the city, 
and murdered all the Cancellieri, excepting fome 
who had taken refuge in the palace of the lords 
priors. The Cancellieri who furvived were not 
at all intimidated, becaufe, having many adherents, 
it was eafy for them toftir up againlt the Panciatichi 
the plebeians, who, alert at their inftigation, mew- 
ed themfelves fuch fierce perfecutors of the faction 
of the Panciatichi, that, appearing in arms, they 
all cried, " Vengeance ! vengeance !" and in the 
tumult a multitude of the Panciatichi and their 
fautors were killed upon the fpot ; and the fpirits 
became fo exafperated, that both parties thought 
of nothing but making profelytes, and gaining 
followers. In May the Panciatichi aflembled a 
great body of men, and feized the piazza, and 
more than half the city fortified themfelves in the 
balconies, fteeples, and towers, and devoted their 
whole time and attention to preparations for war. 


7<5 Pifloia. 

The Cancellieri on their part, equally numerous in 
followers, fortified themfelves in the other fide of 
the city, and were affifted by fuch numbers of men, 
who came in from the mountains and plains in the 
country, that they compofed a large army. In 
fuch a fcene of turbulence, fufpicions were fo fre- 
quent and dangerous, that it became neceffary for 
every man to declare himfelf : for both parties 
adopted the fame maxim towards the moderate 
men and neutrals, ' " If you don't (hew yourfelf 
our friend, we will fhew ourfelves your enemy." 
There was not a man finally, who did not infert 
himfelf into all the injuries and infolence of a 
party ; and frequent battles, fometimes in one 
ftreet, and fometimes in another, both by night 
and by day, tormented the whole city, fo that 
there was no time for the people to take any re- 

In this (late of things arrived at Piftoia two 
commiflaries, with five hundred men, fent by the 
Imperial vicars in Florence to put a check to the 
impetuofity of faction, who entered by the gate of 
Caldatica, and taking pofleflion of the mofl im- 
portant and advantageous pods, they gave orders 
to all to retreat and abandon their arms. Thefe 
orders were fcarcely promulgated, when there un- 
expectedly appeared a large body of armed men 
to the affiftance of the Cancellieri, which by their 
adherents in Bologna had been fent ; and, on the 
other fide, a number of men from St. Marcello, 
and other neighbouring countries, to the fuccour 
of the Panciatichi ; and neither party being will- 
ing to give way to the other, they -began, in the 
face of the Florentine guards, to ftrike each other 
fo cruelly, that the fader their forces increafed, the 
more were multiplied their infults, arfons, mur- 
ders, and ilaughters. The commiflaries feeing all 


FioravamL j i 

things rufhing to deflruction, ordered the heads 
of both parties to appear at Florence, and that the 
foldiers, both foreign and domeftic, fhould go out 
of the city upon pain of rebellion, and extending 
the fame threat to all who ihould entertain them 
in their houfes. The Panciatichi were difpofed to 
obey ; but the Cancellieri, who were favoured by 
one of the commilTaries, proceeded in their info- 
lence, and making a jeft of the orders, would not 
move : whence thofe mirrifters, feeing themfelves 
little refpected, and lefs obeyed, returned to Flo- 
rence. The foldiers were gone out of the city, 
and the heads of the factions feeing themfelves de- 
prived of their ftrength, they fet themfelves to 
collecting the plebeians to their fide, and ftudious 
of ilaughter, a great body of people ftood ready to 
begin a new affray. As the death of Georgio 
Tonti had been difpleafmg to the Cancellieri, they 
could not forget it, nor conquer their defire of re- 
venge; with this view they occupied, with all 
their people, the piazza della Sala, and leaving a 
number to guard it, went with the reft to the little 
fquare of the Trinity, to pull down the houfes of 
theCollefi, and then' one of the Panciatichi ; then 
they laid fiege to the palace of Gualtieri Panc^iti- 
chi : running through the ftreets, they killed 
Francis Nutini, and plundered his houfe, with 
that of Gabriel Vifconti, Bernard Collefi,Matthew 
Collefi, and fetting fire to all of them, they ran to 
attack the houfe of Aftorre Panciatichi, from 
whence thofe of its faction having fkd, this houfe 
remained in the power of its enemies, wjio (tripped 
and robbed it. They then burned the houfes of 
the Conti, thofe of Francifco Thomas Balduc- 
ci, and that of Gori, archdeacon of St. Zenone, 
arid auditor of the biihop Pandolfmi. After .fo 
many pillage?, burnings, and demolitions, they re- 


turned to the piazza, and rifled all the (hops arid 
ftores of the Panciatichi, with whom coming to a 
cruel conflict, a large number on both fides pe- 
rifhed. At this inftant a powerful reinforcement 
of men arrived to the Panciatichi, who without 
lofs of time renewed the attack upon the Cancel- 
lieri, and both parties fought in the parifh of Our 
Lady of the Lily, .and in that of St. Michael., with 
fuch defperation, that a great number on both 
iides were killed and wounded, and if a great rain 
had not parted the combatants, it feemed as if the 
whole race would have been here exterminated* 
But upon this occafion a truce was concluded. 
The heads of thefe factions were now fummoned 
to Florence : thirty of them went, and were fud- 
denly thrown into prifon. A rigorous profecution, 
as it is called, was commenced againft them. 
Some were acquitted without any conditions of 
peace or truce ; others were punifhed by imprifon- 
ment ; fome by fequeftration of their property, and 
ibme were banifhed. This decifion extinguifhed 
no part of the flames of revenge ; on the contrary, 
the rigour praftifed againft fome, and the lenity 
to others, gave rife to ftill greater infolence ; and 
in the face of the Florentines themfelves,, and in 
their own city, fome of the acquitted Cancellieri 
committed excefles as outrageous as the former. 
Introduced by their friends, the malignants in' 
Florence, fecretly, at the (hutting of the gates, 
fet themfelves to fearch for Andrew and Sa- 
limbe Panciatichi, to aflaflinate them ; and fa- 
voured by the obfcurity of a foggy air, after two 
o'clock at night, they found it eafy to put Salirnbe 
to death, though Andrew had the good fortune 
to efcape, by hiding himfelf in a joiner's mop. 
For this atrocions delinquency the faction was- 
banifhed : but having returned, and reinftated 
& : -;li4 themfelves 


themfelves in Piftoia, in defiance of jufticc, the 
factionaries foon came to another rupture : they 
confounded all things in fuch a manner, that there 
no longer remained any who dreaded any juftice, 
divine or human ; but fcattering through the plains 
and mountains their execrable factions, nothing 
was heard of but quarrels, treafons, conflagrations, 
and murders. The two factions were at length 
weary of fuch inconveniences and fatigues, and, 
to prepare themfelves to combat with frefh breath, 
they made for a Ihort time, and with common 
confent, a truce, each party providing themfelves 
with arms, men, and provifions ; and the Pan- 
ciatichi, defirous of overcoming their enemies by 
any means, invented feveral new inflruments and 
machines of war, and fortifying themfelves with 
thefe, thought themfelves invincible. 

The Cancellieri fortified themfelves, as well as 
the Panciatichi, with forts and baflions of timber, 
and machines of war, (landing well upon their 
guard in their pofts. The Panciatichi, no longer 
able to contain themfelves, put in order all their 
people, made Palamidefie Panciatichi, and Barto- 
lomeo Collefi, their leaders, and arranged all their 
pofts, officers, and foldiers. But while they were 
occupied in thefe difpofitions, they unexpectedly 
found the oppofite faction ready to meet them : 
the battle was fought, and the Cancellieri obtained 
a bloody victory, becaufe the Panciatichi were 
abandoned by a large body of Lombards, whom 
they had hired for their defence. They did not, 
however, lofe there courage, but re-aflembling 
their partizans, and rallying their foldiers, they 
appeared again in a fhort time, with greater num- 
bers and ferocity than ever ; and the engagement 
being renewed, for the (hort time that it lafted 
was fo terrible and fatiguing, that both parties 

VOL. III. L were 



were fo exhaufted and weakened, that they were 
conftrained to retire with their wounded men to 
their ports. The Cancellierf having taken fome 
repofe, and, confidering that they had the protec- 
tion, or at lead the countenance, of the new Flo- 
rentine commiflaries, by whofe advice their afibci- 
ates had been reftored to Piftoia, inftead of being 
banifhed for the murder of Salimbe Panciatichi in 
Florence, they affumed frefh courage to attempt 
every means for the deftru&ion of the Panciatichi. 
On the 9th of Auguft they fcoured all the ftreets 
and fquares of the city, and wherever they found 
a Panciatichi they murdered him. They put to 
death alfo Bernardino Gai,and mortally wounded 
the Comte di Rigolo Bifconti ; but many thinking 
it their duty to vindicate the Panciatichi, they fell 
with fuch impetuofity upon the rear of the Can- 
cellieri, as obliged them to retire. In this ftate of 
things the Florentine commifTaries cited to ap- 
pear before them ten perfons of each party ; who, 
though they made their appearance, were detained 
in the palace 'of juftice, and exhorted to peace, 
or at lead to a temporary truce, would not accept 
of any of thefe propofals ; and therefore the com- 
mifiaries, not knowing what to do with them, dif- 
mified them. Animated, rather than terrified by 
this weaknefs of authority and the judicial power, 
they demanded all their followers confined in va- 
rious places, and providing themfelves again with 
arms and afMants, renewed the war. Such was 
the ardour, violence,and the force of theCancellieri 
and their party, that they excited great terror, not 
only in the country parts, but in all the city. 
Not content to have taken poffefiion of all the 
councils., and afTembled them to govern as they 
pleafed, and rendered their people . difobedient 
to all law, but they alfo fent them, with the 


Fioravanti. 75 

utmofl licence, through the country, to ravage, 
plunder, and burn the villages and habitations. 
The men of prudence and reflection feeing fo 
many precipicies and fo much ruin, and forefeeing 
more, exerted themfelves to obtain an election of 
eight citizens, to whom were given the whole 
authority of the general council, or, in other 
words, were made dictators, that they might find 
a remedy for fo great confufions, and do whatever 
mould be neceeffary or convenient for refloring the 
public tanquillity. On this opportunity the 
clergy were aroufed, and with uncommon zeal 
exhorted the people in private converfation, and 
fulminated from the pulpit againft ail this ungod- 
linefs and unrighteoufnefs of men ; but all this 
apoltolical benevolence, added to the unlimited 
power of the eight dictators, were inefficient : 
men's ears were deaf, and their eyes blind, to every 
thing but the malignity of their own paflions, and 
every one continued to do whatever feemed right 
in his own eyes. They recalled into Piftoia all 
the banifhed men, with numerous troops of their 
adherents : thefe filling the city with bad men, 
and bringing freih force and vigour to the refpec- 
tive parties, they prepared to commit new ex* 
cefles. The Panciatichi, finding themfelves at 
liberty, and loofened from all restraint, went, on 
the i3th of Auguft, unexpectedly, to batter down 
the houfes of William Fioravanti, thofe of Jacob 
Peri, thofe of Antonio Popolefchi, and many 
others, upon which occafion many were wounded, 
and Francis Panciatichi, and John Aftefi, with 
many others of inferior condition, were killed. On 
the 1 5th of Auguft they went to batter down the 
houfe of Biagio Odaldi, but thefe making-a refo- 
lute refinance, many were wounded, and the refl 
obliged to retreat : but returning the next day, 


7 6 Piftoia. 

with a reinforcement of people under the influence 
of the family of Brunozzi, they laboured to fuch 
purpofe, that partly with fbi ce,and partly with fire, 
they took pofieflion of the houfe. They went 
next to the palaces of the Neri and Fioravanti, 
and finding no refiftance, they took them, and fill- 
ed them with their men. They aflaulted too the 
houfes oftheColate, Salincerni, and Curradi, and 
not being able to take them, fet fire to them, and 
burnt five warehoufes of the Ambragi : they en- 
tered into the houfes of the Gattefchi, but there 
they were obliged to fight a long time, and the 
engagements became general, fo that it was im- 
poffible to afcertain the number of the killed and 
wounded of the two factions, but there was not 
a ftreet in the city which was not incumbered with 
dead bodies, and polluted with human blood. 

Intelligence of the ftrength of the Panciatichi 
had been communicated by the Cancellieri to their 
friends, who, on the morning of the i7th of Au- 
guft, with an hundred cavalry and two hundred in^ 
fantry, appeared fuddenly at the houfes of the Col- 
lefi, by whom fo brave a defence was made, that 
they were repulfed ; but after taking a fhort repofe, 
returned to the aflault, took the houfe, plundered 
it, and left it on fire. They went next to the 
houfes of Antonio Ambrogi, to the two houfes of 
the Cioci, to that of Vincenco Mati, and burned 
them, with many others, and retook thofe which 
had been hitherto occupied by the Panciatichi, 
who finding thernfelves obliged to abandon the 
houfes of Andrea Fioravanti, and Antonio Popo- 
iefchi, configned them, in a fit of defpair, to the 
flames. But while the party of the Cancellieri 
were attentive to the mifchief they were doing, 
they were attacked, in two places at once, by the 
Panciatichi j and fcarcely was the adion begun, 


Fioravanti. 77 

when, perceiving their difadvantage, they retreated 
behind the church of St. Anthony, and fet fire to 
the houfe of Niccolas Godemini : from thence 
they went to the Old Gate, and attacked the 
houies of the Bracciatini in the piazza, where, 
meeting with a bold refiftance, they went with 
great folicitude to find the commiflaries, and de- 
manded of them the pofleflion of the hofpital del 
Ceppo, which was then governed by one of the 
Panciatichi, otherwife they would have fet fire to 
it. The Paneiatichi had already two hundred 
countrymen of the Rain, under the command of 
Michelino Jozzeli, and that of Lifca, who, pofted 
for the guard of the hofpital, were determined to 
perifli rather than abandon it. The commiflaries 
feeing fo many people aflifting the Panciatichi, 
would not openly efpoufe the requeil and attempt 
of the Cancellieri, but pacifying them with footh- 
ing words, they gave orders to M. Criaco, the 
captain, who, in behalf of the Florentine Imperial 
yicars, with 500 foldiers guarded the piazza, that 
in their name he mould take pofleflion of the 
hofpital, under the pretence of preferving it from 
fo much fury. The captain, with one hundred of 
his foldiers, marched to the hofpital, and employ- 
ed all his art to obtain pofleflion of it, but was 
anfwered by the Panciatichi, that they would not 
go out of the place alive. Upon this the com- 
miflaries in perfon went to the hofpital, and 
acknowledging that it muft require great feats of 
arms to take it, gave good words to the Panciati- 
chi, who delivered up to them the hofpital, which 
was, however, unexpectedly pillaged by the Can- 
cellieri, but left, by the orders of the commiflaries, 
in the power of the fupreme magiftrate of the city, 
by whom pofleflion being taken, regulations were 


78 Piftoia. 

made for the good government of it, and the 
adminiftration given to four prudent citizens. 

A little afterwards the commiflaries and the 
bifhop undertook to perfuade the party of the 
Panciatichi, not only to infift upon the direc- 
tion of the hofpital, but alfo to abfent themfelves 
fome time from the city, and in that manner to 
remove the caufe of fo many diforders, and endlefs 
evils which threatened to fucceed. Thefe orders, 
or this recommendation, were given to Baftiano 
and Vincenzo Bracciolini, of that faction, who 
held immediately a conference with Andrew and 
Antonio Panciatichi, their leaders, who thought 
fit to obey, firft demanding fecurity for their 
houfes and other property, which was promifed 
them by the commiflaries. They made hafte to 
communicate thefe particulars to all their fadion- 
aries, who, adhering to the opinions of their prin- 
cipals, collected together all their property of 
value, and carried it towards the church of St. 
Paul, arid there filled up the whole ftreet which- 
leads to the gate Caldatica, and ftood well upon 
their guard. The Cancellieri were in the conti- 
guous ftreet, with four hundred foldiers from 
Bologna ; and fearing to rifquea battle, the Pan- 
ciatichi marched out of Piftoia without receiv- 
ing injury or infult from the inhabitants, followed 
by the Collefi, Rofli, Franchini, Forteguerri, Fa- 
broni, Bifconti, Bracciolini, Brunozzi, and many 
Others of equal rank and condition. The gates 
were inftantly (hut, and the walls lined with men 
by the Cancellieri, who infulted and ridiculed, 
from that eminence, the retreating faction, with 
impunity and without danger. 

The Cancellieri remained in Piftoia, and it is 
not poffible to relate the abominable iniquities 
and cruelties committed by them in the height of 


Fioravanti* 79 

their triumph, infolence, and power : ranging the 
whole city without controul, they attended no 
other bufmefs or amufement but to ruin, burn, 
plunder, and ravifh, whatever of the Panciatichi 
they could find, and he who could commit the 
mod atrocious deeds was the mod efteemed, 
admired and applauded. In this manner was the 
public faith, and the fplemn promife made to the 
Panciatichi, fulfilled and performed ! To the prin- 
cipal palace of the Panciatichi they fet fire ; the 
houfes of the Brunozzi, Collefi, and many others 
contiguous to them, were difmantled : the beauti- 
ful habitations of John, Oliver, and Virgil Pan- 
ciatichi, with many other places and houfes filled 
with grain, corn, wine, oil, and timber, were 
burned ; and all the fummer-houfes, mops, and 
ftores, and every other building which belonged 
to the Panciatichi ; in one of which was found in, 
bed the Count di Rigolo Bifconti, ill of the 
wounds he had received in fome of the late 
engagements : the count was, without ceremony, 
thrown out of the windowinto the ftreet, not by a 
commmon rabble, but by Ceccone Beccano%nd 
Gio. Taviani, men of diftin&ion and confequence. 
They afterwards made fearch in all the fteeples 
and towers, as well as through all the churches, 
for refugees of the other faction, and wherever they 
found any they drove them out, robbed them, and 
fent them to their houfes ; and fo enormous was 
the evil committed by the Cancellieri fa&ionaries, 
that by the end of the 2oth of Auguft they had 
burned more than two hundred houfes and ftctres, 
and all the principal fort, contrary to the pro- 
mifes and folemn faith to the Panciatichi by the 
commiflaries ; and thus a beautiful and charming 
city was become a receptacle of aflaffins, of rob- 

So Pi/iota. 

bers, of murderers, and labourers in every evil 

While the faction of the Cancellieri thus tyran- 
nically domineered in Piftoia, that of the Pan- 
ciatichi would have done the fame if they had 
been in the city, equally without controul. In 
their ftate of banifhment, they ftill meditated the 
oppreffion and deftrudion of their rivals, and to 
this purpofe collected men, and fortified them- 
felves on the plains in the country. Not being 
able to obtain the countenance and afliftance of 
the Florentines, but rather being threatened by 
them with their difpleafure and chaflifement, they 
fet themfelves, with all their forces, to ill treat the 
country with their robberies, arfons, homicides, 
and imprifonments, in fuch a manner, that making 
frequent excurfions into the mountains, they foon 
reduced all the territory of the Pifloians to a 
miferable and deplorable ftate. At the fame 
time the Cancellieri, no longer knowing what to 
fteal, or whom to rob, proceeded in inventing 
new infults for the Panciatichi, or thofe whom 
they*fufpeted to favour that party, who remained 
in Piftoia. As the city was full of malicious peo- 
ple, who could not contain themfelves, they went 
frequently out of the gates, and ftole cattle and 
other property from the Panciatichi in the coun- 
try, till all the Panciatichi, who were near the 
bounds of the city, were obliged to retreat into 
the plain, and unite with their affociates : here 
they began to think of checking the power of 
their enemies ; and all being eager to return to 
their houfes, they thought it a duty to reftrain by 
force the arrogance of their adverfaries, and re- 
duce them, once for all, to fubjeclion. To this 
purpofe they erected a ftrong baftion near the 


Fioravanti* 81 

bridge a Bonelle, and another in the neighbour- 
hood of the bridge alia Pergola, and fortified 
thernfelves at St. Angiolo, at St. Baftiano, at the 
great houfes of the Forteguerri, at Zenuta, at 
Magia, at St. Nuovo, at Tizzana, and made 
other fortifications, with preparations of muni- 
tions of arms, provifions, and men, from the 
mountains and from Lucca, who came to lend 
them affiftance : and by thefe means held in fub- 
jection all the country, and in terror all the con- 
trary faction. The Cancellieri feeing the prepara- 
tions made by the Panciatichi, and apprehending 
fome unexpected afiaulf, made, without delay, 
preparations neceffary to remove thefe factionaries 
effectually from the country. Collecting toge- 
ther a body of 4000 men, of their own and the 
Bolognefe, they went out to attack, at the fame 
time, the two baflions near the bridges. The 
Panciatichi were aftonimed and panic-ftruck at 
the fight of fo many men, and giving thernfelves 
up moft fhamefully to flight, the aflailants, in 
lefs than one hour, had complete pofleffion of 
both bridges, and difmantled both the baftions. 
Proceeding to St. Angiolo, which was guarded by 
Bartolemeo Collefi, an intrepid officer, and experi- 
enced in arms, they fought a mod bloody battle, 
in which Collefi himfelf was killed under his horfe ; 
for this brave commander falling from his horfe, 
was afTaffinated, and his head, fevered from his 
body, was fixed on the bow of a faddle, and car- 
ried to Piftoia, there to be expofed to mockery 
and infult : at the found of the trumpets it was 
placed upon the architrave of the well of the 
great market, that the people might demonftrate 
their joy and triumph over it, and there it was 
kept three days. This inhuman exultation was 
the beginning of ill fortune to the Cancellieri : 
VOL. III. M the 

82 Piftoia. 

'the .indignation of the Panciaticbi was excited 
by the feoffs and taunts offered to their Collefi, 
and by the fhameful repulfe in the aifault of 
an enemy's baftion near the river Brana. At this 
action the Cancellieri were fo confident, that they 
cried out, " Victory !" and returned without order 
through the ftreets, with a great booty, to Piftoia. 
The Panciatichi made a commander of Meo Gori, 
of a very numerous family in Terruccia, proud 
and terrible, but fortunate, who, with four of his 
brothers, and other relations, who in all were 
about an hundred perfons, in the rear of thofe 
who thought themfelves victorious, followed them 
to the grove of elms,, and retaking the plun- 
der, routed the party. Many were flain, more 
made prifoners, and the reft, fcattered in various 
places, returned late and in diforder to Piftoia. 
The Panciatichi having obtained fo fignal a 
victory, they proceeded, under their glorious cap- 
tain Franco, to Tizzana and Magia, and there 
fummoned to arms all the people of the party, and 
flood night and day in good order ana 1 well guarded. 
The Cancelleiri, feeing the increafing force of the 
Panciatichi, defpaired of difpoffeffmg them of the 
plain, and therefore employed all their craft to 
effect a feparation between the Panciatichi in the 
country, and the Panciatichi in the city, in order 
to weaken the faction : in the courfe of two 
months they accomplifhed their defign, and a 
truce was concluded between the Panciatichi in 
the country and the Cancellieri in the country, 
which occafioned great feafts and rejoicings in 
Piftoia. This truce, however, had but a fhort 
duration ; parties began again to rage, and mutual 
flaughters were renewed ; and although the Flo- 
rentines knew that the territory of the Piftoians 
was no longer practicable, on account of the con- 

N Fioravanti. , 83 

tinual murders and aflamnations committed in il 
by night and by day, yet they would not, or knew 
not how to put their hands co any effectual re- 
medy : and although they ordered into confine- 
ment for three years, upon pain of rebellion for 
returning to Piftoia, all the families of Bifconti, 
Panciatichi, Collifi (except Bernardo), Fabbroni, 
Brunozzi, RofTi, Forteguerri, Bracciolini, Cioci, 
and Gherardi, and many others, fpecified to the 
number of two hundred, yet it was not poflibie 
that this banifhment mould have any effect ; be- 
caufe that many Florentines, their friends, befides 
favouring and aflifting them, with money and 
other effects, obftru&ed the execution of it, which 
was the principal caufe that the Panciatichi con- 
folidated themfelves on the plain, with the firm 
refolution not to depart from it. The Panciati- 
chi, neverthelefs, were not a little anxious, when 
they knew that the commons of Florence were 
againft them ; and the Cancellieri were not lefs 
difturbed with fears when they faw their enemies 
in pofieffion of the dominion of the country ; fo 
that the); were obliged to confider themfelves as 
befieged in Piftoia, rather than as lords of it : 
wherefore, reflecting that there was no blefling 
more neceflary than peace, it was determined by 
the general council, that they ought to have 
recourfe to the Mod High in holinefs and good 
works, and to this end orders were given to the 
labourers of St. James the apoftle, that adequate 
alms mould be given to all the religious orders, 
that they might by their prayers fupplicate 
Heaven to fend peace and union among the 
citizens. All this was very commendable and 
proper ; but to depend upon thefe prayers alpne, 
without changing their conftitution, was as irra- 
tional and prefumptuous, as for the crew of a 


84 Piftoia. 

finking fhip to pray for prefer vation, without 
working the pumps or flopping the leaks. 

Accordingly, in 1501, they were found to have 
been inefficacious ; for the execrable factions, in a 
ftill greater eifervefcence of cruelty, made ufe of 
every cunning ftratagem, and attempted every 
means, to deftroy themfelves and their country. 
The Cancellieri, dreading that the Panciatichi 
might return to Piftoia, determined not only to 
hold them at a diftance from the city, but to chafe 
them with all the force they could poflibly afiem- 
ble, quite out of the country ; and to this purpofe, 
having taken into their pay three thoufand foot, 
drawn from the country, the mountains, from 
Valdinievole, from Prato, and other places, and 
fifty cavalry, early in the morning of the 5th of 
February they fallied out with thefe forces, well 
armed, from the gate Caldatica, and went, one 
thoufand men towards Montemagno, and two 
thoufand towards St. Angiolo. Thefe laft arrived 
at St. Angiolo, entered the church, fpoiled it of 
every thing valuable, and fet it on fire ; and 
becaufe thirty of the Panciatichi, who were ported 
as guards in the fteeple, knew it was impoflible in 
any manner to defend it, they gave the fignal of 
their being befieged by a flag, as had been pre- 
vioufly concerted with their friends in the neigh- 
bourhood. Suddenly three hundred Panciatichi, 
compacted to gather in the form of a fquadron, 
under the command of their captain, Franco 
Gori, ufmg every artifice to avoid being difco- 
vered by the enemy, threw themfelves by furprife 
into the middle of the Cancellieri, and in a fhort 
time broke anddefeated to the number of two thou- 
fand perfons. This victory was fo advantageous 
to the Panciatichi, that three of them only were 
wounded, and one killed, while the Cancellieii loft 


Fioravanti. 85 

more than three hundred and fifty killed, and a 
proportionable number wounded, and many were 
made prifoners ; and thofe few who efcaped, threw 
down their arms, and in fmall numbers an<J 
great diforder fled towards Piftoia. This fplen- 
did victory, with the acquifition of a great booty, 
obtained by the Panciatichi, animated them not 
to mrink from any inconvenience or fatigue to 
profecute the abafement of their enemies : where- 
fore, without lofs of time, taking, to deceive their 
antagonifts, a pair of colours which had been 
feized in the laft battle, they paraded with this on 
their march, and went to attack the other Cancel- 
lieri, who, at Santo Nuvo, had befieged their 
afibciates, the Panciatichi who guarded it ; but 
the Cancellieri, advertifed of the artifice by 
means of a lady, fled with the enemy, almofl 
moulder to moulder, and coafling along by the 
cliffs of Cafale, took the road towards Collina 
Fontana, and routed, difbanded, and covered 
over with mire, arrived at Piftoia. This retreat 
took up the whole night. This flight of the 
Cancellieri occafioned no fmall damage to the 
innocent Panciatichi who had remained in fecurity 
in Piftoia ; becaufe, returned as were the fugitive 
Cancellieri to their country, they had no other 
thoughts than to revenge themfelves wherever 
they could, by fcouring the city, with their arms in 
their hands, and falling upon thofe unhappy peo* 
pie : they aflaflinated in the piazza a country 
gentleman, and Velice di Mareo, who were of 
the Panciatick faction, and the others, wounded 
and beaten, by flying into the fortrefles and palace 
of the rectors, efcaped their fury, and faved their 

The Panciatichi upon the plain in the country, 
having been informed of the treachery committed 


86 Plftoia. 

upon their companions in Piftoia by the Cancel- 
lieri, conceived againfl that faction an indignation 
beyond all credibility greater than ordinary ; fo 
that, after a little repofe from the fatigues lately 
fuffered, they prepared to perfecute their enemies 
with greater ferocity. Hearing that fome of them 
had built a ftrong baflion on the common at 
Cafale, from which fortification they daily made 
inroads among the inhabitants, and committed 
much mifchief, they went on the 24th of March, 
and took the baftion, the Cancellieri who guarded 
it (hamefully flying. Others of the Cancellieri, in 
Cafale itfelf, taking poft in the church and in the 
balcony, after a fharp conflict were overcome by 
Michelino Jozzelli and Charles Nicolai, many of 
them cut to pieces, many others wounded, and the 
reft purfued over the mountains, where they left 
their arms, and fled with precipitation : others, in 
the meadows of Vignole and of Agliana, were 
pillaged and totally difperfed : others, at the bridge 
of Bonelle, fuffered a perfect defeat, in which 
many were affaflinated, and the reft fled in diforder. 
The Panciatichi feeing their affairs fucceed fo 
happily, prepared themfelves for greater enter- 
prizes, and calling together all their people, they 
went againft the caftle of Morriigno, took it, and 
fet it on fire. They then took Vinacciano, and 
burnt all the houfes of the Cancellieri ; and the 
houfes of the Panciatichi having been a little 
before burnt by the Cancellieri, this place by the 
laft conflagration became entirely defolate and 
deftroyed. Nor was the damage lefs that was 
done at Montegaftoli, the country of Fontana, 
Collina, and Gabbiano. The Panciatichi then 
fortified themfelves at Montebuono, and did infi- 
nite damage from thence to the party of the 
Cancellieri, who taking Giaccherino, built by the 


Fioravanti. 87 

families of the Panciatichi, made a (land againft 
their enemies, and there followed in this neigh- 
bourhood burnings of houfes and murders of 
people. At length the two factions defcended 
towards the long bridge, and came to battle, 
which was continued for fome time with obftinacy ; 
but the Cancellieri having the word of it, at laft 

The few good and wife men who remained, 
confidering the miferies and deftru&ion which 
.refulted to the city of Piftoia and its territory 
from the two unbridled factions, exerted them- 
felves to aflemble the general council, by whom 
were elected two citizens, to fee that all malefac- 
tors ihould be chaftifed and punifhed. But a 
provifion of this fort could never be fufficient 
to intimidate a number of fa&ionaries fo power- 
ful : it accordingly only animated them to greater 
fury ; for the perfons elected being poorly attend- 
ed, and provided with little power or force, how 
could they be able to reftrain a defperate people, 
who required extraordinary rigour, and much 
greater energy, to render them quiet, pacific, and 
obedient ? This was fo well known to thofe ungo- 
vernable people, that it rendered them more fierce, 
proud, and infatiable of revenge, fo that the Can- 
cellieri, feeing themfelves overcome in battle, de- 
termined to accumulate a great quantity of money, 
in order to provide men to conquer the force of 
their enemies. To this end they burthened the 
city of Pifloia with the payment of twenty thou- 
fand ducats of gold ; they fold the effects of St. 
James to the amount of four thoufand crowns; 
they pawned, for eighteen thoufand crowns more 3 
at Bologna, the chalices of gold of the chapel of 
St. James, which weighed -twenty-two pounds ; 
they fold two golden angels, a fathom and an half 

88 Piftoia. 

in height, and 'a pair of candlefticks which were 
worth five hundred crowns ; they took a mod 
beautiful bafon, and an ewer of filver, of the value 
of four hundred crowns : moreover, they coined 
into money other filver bafons, and ari image of 
the Virgin, and another of St. John, of pure filver, 
which were of St. Zeno, and all the dimes and 
bafons of filver which were in the palace of the 
fupreme ifiagiftrate ; they took from the Monte 
di Pieta fix; thoufand ducats, and one thoufand five 
hundred from the Houfe of Wifdom, and made up a 
fum of forty thoufand crowns. In the age and coun- 
try where thefe things were done, this robbery of 
churches, of faints, and angels, this plunder of holy 
relicks, was facrilege and impiety of the deepeft 
dye, enough to have (hocked and revolted the whole 
city in any other circumftances ; but the fpirit of 
party made it all lawful to the Cancellieri and their 
followers, who made Mancino of Bologna their 
captain, one of the braveft foldiers of thofe times, 
hired fifteen hundred foreigners, of infantry and 
cavalry, and called in all their friends from the 
mountains and country, fo that Piftoia was fo full 
of foldiers, that all the houfes could fcarcely hold 

In the mean time the party Panciatichi ne- 
glecled not to procure all the advantages in their 
power ; and animated by one Pazzaglio, of Ser- 
ravalle, they attempted to take that caftle, and by 
means of that traitor fucceeded, fortified them- 
felves in the poft which guarded Valdinievole, and 
in the fleeples of the churches of St. Stephen and 
St. Michael; and being in want of provifions, made 
excurfions to the adjacent country, reaped the 
grain, pillaged cattle, and fometimes burnt houfes 
and killed inhabitants, till they reduced the place 
to a moil milerable and deplorable flate. The 


Fioravanti. 89 

parties having in this manner provided themfelves 
with men, arms, and provifions, the Cancellieri 
were anxious to undertake iome enterprize with 
that body of men, which they had hitherto kept 
in pay at fo great an expence, and with fo little 
effect. After a confultation, part remained as a 
guard in the city, and part went out to the moun- 
tains. Six hundred infantry and fifty cavalry went 
out, well armed and in good order, and attempted 
an aflault, in two divifions, upon Brandeglio and 
Caftellaccio, but were difcouraged by a brave 
defence. They advanced towards Cireglio, and 
making a fierce attack, they eafily carried it, 
plundered it of all that was valuable, arrd deftroy- 
ed the reft by fire. They then went to the church, 
which, with its fteeples, was full of people and of 
property ; they laid fiege to it in fuch a manner, 
that thofe who guarded it defpaired of defending 
it ; but, encouraged by the women who had taken 
refuge there, who, like generous amazons, took 
arms, repulfed the enemy, and having placed in 
fecurity the goods, regained in a fhort time thofe 
places which by the men had been abandoned. 
The Cancellieri, covered with blufhes and dif- 
grace, returned to their main body, and advifed 
their companions to return to Piftoia : but when 
they began their march, they were fo perfecuted by 
the Panciatichi, that the killed and wounded ex- 
ceeded by far thofe who in confufion returned to 
the city. Then it was that the Panciatichi haf- 
tened to Berrignardo, Borghetto, and Piazza, and 
burnt all the houfes of the Cancellieri: and fuch 
were the damages done that day by the faftion- 
aries, that more than one hundred and fifty houfes 
of both parties were burnt down. 

Thofe of the party Panciatichi, who had entered 
into the caftie of Serravalie, thinking themfelves 

VOL. III. N in 

9 PiJIoia. 

in fecurity, flood negligently on their guard in 
thatpoft; intelligence of which being fent to the 
contrary party, they fent, with great hafte, fix hun- 
dred foldiers upon an enterprize againfl it. Two 
hundred furrounded it, and the four hundred 
others, introduced into fome places about the 
caftle, began to rufh without controul into all the 
apartments, fo that the Panciatichi, taken by fur- 
prife, retired into fome other forts in the neigh- 
bourhood. Early in the morning the Cancellieri 
approached the fteeple of St. Michael, and took 
it by a vigorous aflault. They battered afterwards 
that of the church of St. Stephen ; but perceiving 
that it was not to be carried without fome delay, 
they fet fire to the church, from whence the flames- 
afcencling to the balcony ,lbon burnt thofe who held 
it. They intended, moreover, to have attempted 
the acquifition of the fortrefs, in which the greater 
part of the Panciatichi were (hut up ; but a rein- 
forcement of five hundred infantry, and one hun- 
dred cavalry, arriving to thofe in the fort, and 
reinforced farther with three hundred men from 
the mountains, and two hundred from Lucca, 
conducted by Michael Jozzelli, who had taken 
the mod important pofts without the walls, the 
caflle was befieged in fuch a formidable manner, 
that the Cancellieri loft all hopes of expelling the 
contrary faction from that .place. The Cancellieri 
in Piftoia, however, hearing the fituation of their 
companions in the caftle of Serravalle, fent, at the 
approach of evening, three hundred infantry and 
fifty cavalry, with plenty of provifions, to reinforce 
and refrefli them ; but fcarcely had thefe foldiers 
met the others at the foot of the mountajn, when, 
repulfed and purfued by the Panciatichi as far as 
the long bridge, they were obliged to fubmit to 
the lofs of twenty perfons, many arms, and all 


Fioravanti. g i 

their provifions. In the mean time came to the 
afliftance of the Panciatichi, Martino Ciuti with 
two hundred men, and the captain Franco Gori 
with three hundred, and many others, who uniting 
with thofe already there, amounted to three thou- 
fand, who attacked that caftle on the fide of the fort 
in which the companies had taken refuge ; but 
feeing all their attempts were rendered vain, one 
hundred of the moft alert approached to the gate 
with fuch impetuofity, that they made a breach, 
and let four hundred men into the caftle, who 
attacking the Cancellieri in the rear, in kfs than 
an hour killed more than three hundred, and made 
more than one hundred prifoners, and permitting 
the foreigners to efcape by a fhameful flight, 
gained a large booty of goods, money, arms, and 
horfes. The Panciatichi having obtained this 
noble victory, the citizens of that faction began to 
think of endeavouring to return to Pifloia ; but 
were difluaded by the Panciatichi who were inha- 
bitants of the country, and would not confent. 
They went therefore all together to their ufualpofts 
upon the plain, with their prifoners and rich plun- 
der. If they had attempted to return to Piftoia, 
they would not have been oppofed, for the fac- 
tionaries in the city were fo impoverifhed and dif- 
couraged, that many had gone out of the place ; 
and although the bells of the people were rung 
that day, not one perfon appeared in the piazza. 

There fucceeded many more affrays and flaugh- 
ters, burnings and depredation?, to relate all of 
which in detail would be endlefs. Great were the 
damages done the fame day by the Panciatichi in 
Alliana ; but by the treacherous mifcondud of 
their captain, Martino Francefe, they were dif- 
gracefully repulfed, had many killed and many 
wounded ; r.nd, what was more to be dreaded, the 


92 Piftoia. 

Cancellieri carried thirteen of their heads in tri- 
umph to Piftoia, and by that means revived the 
courage of their companions, almoft funk in terror 
and defpair. Great was the (laughter of their ene- 
mies, and numerous the burnings of houfes com- 
mitted by the Panciatichi of Montagnana, the 7th 
of July, at Momigno. The loth of July the Pan- 
ciatichi of Brandeglio collected a large number of 
men from the plain and the mountains, and burnt 
all the houfes of the Cancellieri which were at Sa- 
tornana, at St. Felice, and there plundered all the 
property and all the cattle. The 2oth of July 
the Cancellieri burnt in Piftoia eight houfes and 
fix ftores of the Bracciolini, and fet fire to three 
houfes of M. Gio. di Franco, and demolimed the 
houfe of Francifco Collefi, near to St. Profpero. 
The 28th of July the Cancellieri went to Monte- 
buono, a town of the Panciatichi, took it by ftra- 
tagem, and burnt it, after having made twelve 
prifoners ; whom they conducted to Piftoia, led 
into the hall of an houfe inhabited by Giuliano 
Dragucci, where they ftrangled them, and threw 
them out of the window. This, which they call- 
ed juftice, they compelled to be executed by the 
hands of a prieft, who was in the number of the 
prifoners, and then they put the prieft to death in 
the fame manner. Much deftrudion was made 
by fire, on the 3oth of July, in the commons be- 
longing to the houfes of the bifhop, and in other 
places, by the Panciatichi ; but no lefs were the 
evils committed the fame day by fire by the Can- 
cellieri in the commons of Borelle : and in fo 
many other places were fuch exceffes committed 
by the two factions, that they had reduced Piftoia 
to be the moft unhappy among all the miferable 
cities of Italy ; its whole territory was one fcene 
of burnings, murders, and captivity of men, and 


FioravantL 93 

the citizens themfelves were become the fable and 
the fcorn of the whole world. The Florentines, 
who, as Imperial vicars, had fome pretenfions to 
interfere in the government of Piftoia, derived 
from the emperor Robert, had neglected, till they 
reproached themfelves, to attempt any falutary re- 
medy to fo many evils. In the beginning of Au- 
guft the Cancellieri, the faction which had now 
the dominion in Piftoia, confidering that the Pan- 
ciatichi were mafters of the country, and were 
well furnimed with provifions, while the city was 
in danger of famine, aflembled in the public pa- 
lace to deliberate ; and they concluded it would 
be for the advantage of their country, and of both 
parties, to make peace with the Panciatichi, This 
refolution was foon communicated to the Pancia- 
tichi, who fuddenly confented to treat. At this 
time the Florentines offered their mediation, pro- 
pofed articles, and fent troops to keep order, &c. 
The particulars of this negociation were curious 
enough, but this eflay is already too long. The 
wifeft and mod prudent men in the city held fe- 
cret communications, fometimes with one party, 
fometimes with the other, and then with the Flo- 
rentines, till at laft they prevailed to have a gene- 
ral council called. This confifted wholly of Can- 
cellieri, for thePanciatichi were ftill in the country, 
and confequently the demands of the latter were 
thought too confiderable. Such controversies arofe, 
even among the Cancellieri, that it was feared no- 
thing would ever be concluded. Some juggling 
monkifn trick at laft fucceeded : a dove, white 
and black (bianca & neri), after the fimilitude of 
the arms of the Panciatichi family, flew down 
upon the feat of the fupreme magiftrate, and gave 
manifeft figns that the Moft High was in favour 
of peace j the hard hearts of the Cancellieri re- 

94 Piftola. 

lented, and peace was made. The great affair of 
the appointment of a director of the hofpital was 
fettled, by giving each party alternately the ap- 
pointment. The Panciatichi were reftored to the 
city ; all crimes and atrocities were pardoned, and 
to be forgotten. Eight citizens were to reform 
the government in fuch a manner, that the gonfa- 
lonier, and all the other officers, mould be equally 
drawn from each faction ; and the families inlifted 
under the Panciatichi on one fide, and under the 
Cancellieri on the other, were all named and re- 

Rumours and tumults were ceafed ; the two 
factions enjoyed in Piftoia a tranquillity that they 
believed would be lading ; but the habits of dif- 
cord were not eradicated, paflions were not extin- 
guifhed, and the parties were not balanced. Ac- 
cordingly, in 1502, the fymptoms were difcovered 
of an hidden gangrene : the Cancellieri pre- 
tended to have been, by the general council, ex- 
empted from accounting for what they had taken 
from the commons and from pious places ; and 
the Panciatichi demanded to be refunded in part, 
if not in the whole, of the damages done by fire to 
their houfes ; but as the general council, and 
the other offices of the city, were compofed of an 
equal number of fubjects of the two factions, one 
party refufed to approve of the petition of the 
other. This exafperated their minds to fuch a 
degree, that the ufual factions arofe, and proceeded 
to blows and to arms. They were feparated foon 
by the Florentine troops of cavalry and infantry, 
who were pofted as guards in Piftoia, and obliged, 
without difcharging their hatred, indignation, and 
rancour, to return to their houfes : there they pre- 
pared to give a frefh fcope to their paflions ; and 
the Cancellieri, as the moft powerful, caufing to 


Fioravanti. 95 

be taken out of the hands of the Panciatichi the 
fortrefies they held, began anew to prepare for 
driving them altogether out of the ftate of 
Piftoia. The Panciatichi, penetrating the defigns 
of the Cancellieri, did not delay to provide men, 
and each party, introducing men in the night, 
flood in hourly expectation of a favourable Oppor- 
tunity. On the 24th of February the Cancellieri, 
in three divifions, fortified themfelves, with 300 
men at the gate of Guidi, with 250 on the 
hill in the ftreet of St. John, and with 250 
in the ftreet near St. Dominick. A party of the 
Panciatichi coming in from the country, occa- 
fioned the battle to begin ; but the Panciatichi 
out-numbered, and almoft furrounded by their 
enemies, were compelled again to abandon the 
town with precipitation and diforder. The pari- 
ciatichi, thus expelled a fecond time from the city, 
difperfed in diverfe places on the plain ; and the 
Cancellieri remaining as lords of Piftoia, fuddenly 
{hut the gates and went with unbridled rage to 
plundering, burning, and deftroying all the re- 
maining houfes and fubftance of the Panciatichi. 
They robbed and burned the houfes of the Rofli, 
Forteguerri, Collefi, Radda, Bambolino, Doffo, 
Gualfreducci, as well as the Panciatichi, and many 
others. Meditating ftill greater cruelties, they 
ran in great fury to the public palace, and all 
thofe of the magistracy who were of the party of 
the Panciatichi, whom they could find, they moft 
cruelly put to death. In this ftate of things, thofe 
who prefided over the adminiftration of juftice, 
fupported by the Florentines, attempted to pro- 
vide a remedy againft new combinations, and 
made the tumultuous lay down their arms. To 
make an example, they hanged Puccino Puccini, 
whom they found guilty of the murder of the 


fupreme magiftrates ; and declared rebels thir- 
teen others, whom they condemned for high trea- 
fon, for the contempt fhewn to the fupreme autho- 
rity : thefe were driven out of Piftoia, and fled to 
Montale. This rigour of juftice, however, in- 
ftead of reftoring quiet to Piftoia, ferved rather to 
haften its ruin ; becaufe the Panciatichi fortified 
themfelves with baftions of wood, well furnifhed 
with arms and men, near the bridge di Bonelle, 
by means of which they domineered over the 
whole city, and kept the minds of the Cancellieri 
in conftant agitation, till the pride and ferocity of 
the two parties fuflfered not a day to pafs in the 
city or the country without rencounters, burnings, 
and flaughter. The Panciatichi being fortified at 
Bonelle, and other places of the plain, deliberated 
to make an exertion of all their pomble ftrength 
to deftroy totally the contrary party : to this pur- 
pofe, early one morning they feparated into feveral 
divifions, traverfed that extenfive country by dif- 
ferent routs, and after a few hours met all together 
at the affault of fixteen h.oufes belonging to the 
Tefi, Mati a and other Cancellieri families, ftrip- 
ped them of the mod valuable effects, and burnt 
the reft to the ground. The Cancellieri haftened 
in great numbers to prevent or repair fo great a 
misfortune ; but the fury and the ftrength of the 
Panciatichi was fuch, that, after having killed and 
waunded many, they obliged the reft to fly. Their 
flight animated the Panciatichi to fet fire without 
delay to all the houfes in that vaft plain, and pro- 
due^ a conflagration, which the hiftorian could 
cpiiipare to nothing better than the opening of 

one of the mouths of hell *, 

f'f^i"'-ti : iJT ^t**rfw'^l;-$! 

^^Sembrava eflerfi aperta in quelle parti, vma bocca di infer- 
qo. F.) 394. 


filer av anil. <)7 

Piftoia being in this deplorable condition, de- 
prived of all fuccour and affiftance, was full of 
people given up to a licentious way of living, 
without fear of divine, and much lefs of human 
juftice, who committed continual infoleiice and 
wickednefs of every kind : wherefore many, know- 
ing the" great damage which refulted to their 
country, inftigated the general council to elect 
one of the wifeft and moft learned citizens to ad- 
minifter, with fupreme authority,full and fummary 
juftice, to the end to find a remedy for fo great 
diforders, to extinguifli fo great a fire by punifti^ 
ing every fault, and reducing the people to the 
necefliry of embracing peace and tranquillity. 
The council complied with the petition of the 
principal citizens of the place, and taking, all 
authority from the podefta and captain, gave the 
title of doge to Mariotto di Peraccino del Guida, 
a doctor of laws living at Porta Guidi, and gave 
him all the authority of the council itfelf. Mari- 
otto afliimed the government of the city, and con- 
ducted with fo much rectitude, that no man could 
complain of his partialty, and introduced as much 
tranquillity into the city as he excited jealoufy in 
Florence. But the Cancellieri, as thofe who had 
been the occafion of the exaltation of Mariotto, 
defirous of demonftrating their fuperiority in every 
affair, foon gave occafion to the general council to 
apprehend frefh evils. They therefore appointed 
for the doge three of the wifeft and moft prudent 
citizens for his counfellors, that, amidft fuch dan- 
gers, he might be animated and afiifted not to 
relax in repreffing the pride of reftlefs fpirits, and 
that he might be more ardent in reducing the 
people to order and quiet. All thete endeavours, 
however, availed but little ; for Jacopo Savello 
VOL. III. O coming 

9$ Pi Ma. 

coming to Piftoia with an hundred men in arms, 
on foot and on horfeback, in aid of the Cancellieri, 
thefe determined to go out in fearch of the Pan- 
ciatichi. Uniting three hundred men to the fol- 
diers of Savello, they iflfued out of the city in two 
fquadrons, one of which went to afiault the houfes 
of the Giacomelli, and the other went towards 
Badia a Pacciana, where having routed an hundred 
cavalry of the Panciatichi, they returned to unite 
with the other divifion, and both went to work to 
rob the houfes of all that was good for any thing, 
and then to fet them on fire, and put the in- 
habitants to the fword. In the mean time the 
party of the Panciatichi, numerous in armed men, 
marching fuddenly in front of the enemy, thought 
to revenge themfelves for their paft defeat, by the 
total extermination of the Cancellieri : but be- 
caufe the river Ombrone, which lay between, 
hindered the two parties from coming cruelly to a 
battle, there enfued frequent fkirmifhes on its 
banks, which by length of time terminated to the 
difadvantage of the Cancellieri, and was the rea- 
fon that, intimidated by the force of the contrary 
party, they haftily retired, with Jacopo Savello, 
towards Ailiana, and in the confufion abandoned 
the greateft part of their arms. The general de- 
predation had ruined the crops, and the country 
was afflicted with a fevere famine, which obliged 
Savello to leave Piftoia. 

The Cancellieri of Cavinana, defirous of reftor- 
ing to Igno the Canceliieri their companions, who 
had been banimed from thence, aflembled a body 
of men, who united with two hundred andfixtyper- 
fons, on horfeback and on foot, who came out to 
their afiiftance from the city, advanced to make 
trial of their ftrength ; but meeting with their 


FioravantL 99 

fellow fa&ionaries from the mountains, and mak- 
ing up five hundred foot, and one hundred horfe, 
they all directed their march towards Pitellio, and 
encamped near the old parifh church, where they 
waited two days the arrival of other forces, to make 
an united aflault upon the caftle : but not feeing 
them arrive, and fearing that fuccour might come 
to the Pitellians from their friends in St. Mar- 
cello, they laid afide their meditated enterprize, 
and returned to their places. 

The Panciaiichi of the mountains, finding 
themfelves difturbed by the Cancellieri, thought it 
a duty to revenge themfelves ; and collecting for 
that purpofe one hundred and fifty men at Cutig- 
liano, began to fcour the country and commit de- 
predations. They were encountered with a great 
booty, and a (harp engagement enfued, and, after 
three hours, the Panciatichi thought it convenient 
to leave their prey, and retreat, to fave their lives, 
to Lizzano. The Cancellieri having recovered 
their property, and obferving the retreat of the 
Panciatichi into certain houfes of Lizzano, march- 
ed into it. Then the Panciatichi of Lizzano, for 
fear of the contrary party, who were increafed to 
five hundred perfons, and thinking to fave their 
property and the furniture of their houfes, depo- 
iited them in the church and its fteeple, to which 
alfo the women and the men retired. The Can- 
cellieri arriving in Lizzano, and finding all the 
houfes abandoned, pillaged all that was left in 
them, and then burnt them. They then laid fiege 
to the church and fteepk in fo clofe a manner, 
that there was no fpace left for the Panciatichi to 
efcape. The Caneellieri fent notice to their con- 
forts in the city, country, and mountains, to fend 
them immediate fuccour, that they might have 
dead, or prifoners, their confined enemies. One 


ico Piftola. 

thoufand five hundred men appeared, and took 
away from the befieged all hope of afliftance. In 
this defperate fituation there was no propofal of 
furrender or capitulation. The Cancellieri, re- 
peatedly aflaulted their enemy ; but thefe ob- 
flinately defended themfelves, and often wounded 
the aflailants. Thefe at length renewed the en- 
terprize by fire, and attacked both the church 
and fteeple in that manner. Thofe in the church 
could no longer endure the raging flames, and all 
retired into the fteeple. This place not being 
capacious enough for all, many were fuffbcated 
with the heat and fmoke. The Panciatichi, reduc- 
ed to this ftate of mifery, were by fome of the 
Cancellieri promifed their lives, if they would fur- 
render. Eighteen of the befieged took advantage 
of thefe fair words ; but fcarcely were they in the 
power of their enemies, when they were perfidionfly 
put to death : none of the reft would furrender, 
but refolved to perifh in the balcony. The be- 
fiegers, feeing this courageous refolution, increafed 
the fire under the balcony in fuch a degree, that 
the flames arifing around and above it, many 
of the poor wretches within it, tormented with 
fmoke, and heat, and pain, funk under their 
mifery ; and the more they deafened the fquare 
below with their cries ; the more their inhuman 
enemies exerted themfelves to diftrefs them. 

The party of the Panciatichi of the plain, ad- 
vifed of thefe miferies in which their friends of the 
mountains were involved, and not able to endure 
the horrid excefles which were committed, expe- 
dited under the command of Tofo, the brother of 
the captain Franco Gori, at once to Pupillio four 
Jiundred infantry, and one hundred cavalry, who 
giving notice to all the faclionaries of the moun- 
tains, that they might come to the relief of their 


Fioravanti. i b i 

friends, in a fhort time had an army of a thou- 
fand men and more, befides a large number of 
cavalry. Taking pofiefiion of proper pofts, and 
making fuitable fortifications, Tofo, by a great 
fhout, gave a fignal of the fuccour arrived to 
the poor \ic~tims befieged in the balcony. The 
Cancellieri, when they difcovered this reinforce- 
ment, fent parties fuddenly to repulfe them, 
who found them fo well fortified, that any at- 
tempt againft them muft be ineffectual. Suc- 
cours from all parts arriving to the Panciatichi, 
the Cancellieri found it neceflary to raife the 
fiege, and retire without rilking a battle. The 
befieged who furvived the pain, hunger, and 
other miferies, came out of that fteeple and bal- 
cony, where more than one hundred and twenty 
were found dead by the heat, thirft, and hunger ; 
and their liberators not caring to purfue their fugi- 
tive enemies, only fet fire to their houfes, by 
which new conflagration there was not an houfe 
left in thefe two beautiful villages which was not 
burnt and demolifhed. 

The Panciatichi having vindicated the wrongs 
done to their conforts, took the road of St. Mar- 
cello, to return to the plain ; but one hundred 
and fifty of them deviating without military order, 
they were unexpectedly attacked by the people of 
Calamecca, and not being able to defend them- 
felves, they found it convenient to fave their lives 
by taking their flight in the night. This event 
inftigated the Panciatichi to multiply their forces, 
to deftroy entirely the contrary party, and to this 
purpofe hiring troops from Ferrara, Modena, and 
Lucca, brought together four hundred infantry, 
and one hundred cavalry, and thefe increafing 
daily, gave occafion to the Cancellieri to prepare 
for new battles, and the whole country was fo ex- 

IQ2 Piftola. 

cited, that both parties making great preparations 
for war, nothing remained to be hoped lor but to 
fee the utter ruin of thofe places. In this miferable 
flate of things, Louis king of France excited the 
Florentines to interpofe. They elected thirteen 
commiflaries, and gave them full power. Thefe 
prohibited all to wear arms, and cited all the 
heads of the factions, both of the Panciatichi and 
Cancellieri, in the city, country, and mountains, 
to appear at Florence on the 2oth of Auguft. Of 
the heads of the Panciatick faction, who appeared 
at Florence in obedience to the order, were fix of 
the principal men of the Panciatichi family, four 
of the Collefi, four of the Bifconti, feven of the 
Brunozzi, three of the Gherardi, and four of the 
Rofli : Bartolomeo Panciatichi, M. Goro Ghieri, 
and captain Guiliano Gherardi, with feven others 
refufed to go, and incurred the penalty of banifh- 
ment as rebels. Of the heads of the Cancellieri 
party, appeared in Florence in obedience to the 
citation, two of the Cancellieri, three of the Gat- 
tefchi, three of the Ambrogi, eight of the Perrac- 
cino, three of the Melocchi, three of the Tonti, and 
five of the Odaldi : nine refufed to go, and were 
declared rebels. Six of the heads of the Panciati- 
chi on the plan appeared, and four of thofe on the 
mountains, and an equal number of the Cancel- 
lieri from each. As foon as they appeared in 
Florence, feven of the Cancellieri, and fix of the 
Panciatichi, were committed to prifon, and all the 
reft forbidden to leave Florence on pain ofbanifh- 
ment as rebels. The Florentine commifTaries then 
took all public offices, and the public revenue, out 
of the hands of the Piftoians, and impofed heavy 
fines on the leaders for breaking the peace. Upon 
examination it was found, that more than four 


Fioravantl. 103 

hundred houfes had been burnt in the city, and 
more than lixteen hundred in the country. 

The rigour of the Florentines preferved the 
peace but a Ihort time, for in the next year the 
two factions of the Cancellieri and Panciatichi 
broke out into another civil war, as violent and 
deftru&ive as ever. But let us pafs over the par- 
ticulars, and mention only a few circumftances. 

The Florentines again made peace in Piftoia by 
their commiflaries, imprifonments, fines and other 
feverities, Which the Piftoians were too much 
exhaufted to refift. In 1505 the Piftoians petiti- 
oned Florence to be reftoredto the honours, offices, 
and revenues of the city; and it was granted. 

The Piftoians were fuch friends of the houfe of 
Medici, that they had the addrefs to efcape, at 
the time when the Spanifh army invaded Prato, 
and committed fuch cruelties and devaftations 

John di Medici was made pope, and 'aiiumed 
the name of Leo the Tenth, and the Piftoians made 
fuch rejoicings upon this occafion, and fent fuch 
congratulations by their ambafiadors to the pope, 
and to Julian his brother, and Lorenzo his nephew, 
as recommended them to favour. 

In 1514 the families of Panciatchi, Cancellieri, 
Ricciardi, Gualfreducci and Vergioleft, who in 
1369 had been prohibited to have, obtain, or ex- 
ercife the offices and dignities of the city of 
Piftoia, its country, or mountains, fupplicated, 
with others, to be admitted tp public offices and 
honours. Their petition was repeatedly rejected 
by the council : but at length, by the influence 
and interceffion of the people, Leo the Tenth, they, 
their children, and defcendants, were reftored and 
admitted to all the honours demanded. Is there 
in hiftory a more curious fact ? Thefe families 


104 Piftoia. 

were, by an oftinate, arbitrary, and ftupid 
excluded from all offices and (hare in government ; 
yet it was impofiibFe to eftablifh a government 
that could controul them, and they difpofed of all 
offices, and the whole government, divided as they 
were into two parties, flruggling for the whole 
time, and butchering each other, that one of them 
might rule the whole* 

Some fparks of malignity remained concealed 
in the minds of the fa&ionaries, the Panciatichi 
and Cancellieri, which in 1515 broke out in a 
furions flame, and extended into the plain and the 
mountains. From tumults and murders both 
parties proceeded to make preparations of men 
and arms, to revive the civil wars in all their 
horrors. But the Florentines, that is to fay the 
Medici family, interpofed with fuch energy, as 
reftored the public tranquillity ; in order to pre- 
ferve which they drew off many of the turbulent 
fpirits, by taking them into their fervice as 
guards, &c. 

After the death of the emperor Maximilian, 
Charles of Auftria, king of Spain, was elevated to 
the throne of Csefar, and was called Charles the 
Fifth. Upon this event the Piftoians expected 
iome innovations, but the emperor was prevailed 
upon, by Leo the Tenth, to make no change in the 
government of Tufcany : on the contrary the em- 
peror confirmed to the Florentines the privileges 
of their ftate, authority, and lands, which they 
were in pofTeflion of. 

Guilio de Medici was feated on the pontifical 
throne, and called Clement the Seventh. The 
Piftoians did honour to his elevation by great re- 
joicings, and by an embafly of congratulation ; 
which produced a letter from the pope full of pa- 

Fiofavanti. 105 

ternal affe&ion for the city of Pifloia, and abound- 
ing in praifes of the citizers who compofed it. 

The afendency of the Medici family was not, 
however, fufficiently eftablifhed to prevent a civil 
war from breaking out again in Piftoia between 
the Cancellieri and Panciatichi : an obftinate bat- 
tle was fought between them, which lafted feven 
hours, and the Panciatichi were again obliged to 
leave the city, and go into the country to their 
ufual mifchief. They returned in a (hort time 
with additional force, fought the Cancellieri again, 
and obtained a viclory, not without a multitude 
of killed and wounded on both fides. After this 
new tumult many orations were inftituted in 
Piftoia, to obtain the extirpation of civil difcords. 
The infurre&ion was foon heard of in Florence, 
and Niccolo Capponi, whofe prudence was efteem- 
ed equal to his valour, was fent as commifiTary, 
with an army to fupprefs it. With great diffi- 
culty, and much feverity, he fucceeded to make a 
peace, or a truce, between the two parties. 

But in 1527 the fame factions revived their 
hoftilities, but the leaders were feized and fent to 
Florence, and imprifoned, and mulcted in fines fo 
fevere as intimidated others. Charles, duke of 
Bourbon, with a large army of Spaniards and Ger- 
mans, approached the Alps ofTufcany, and threw 
the Piftoians into an uncommon agitation ; but a 
great fall of fnow obliged him to divert his courfe 
from Pifloia to Rome. 

The Florentines having, in 1527, bani/hed the 
Medici, and taken down, with great impetuofity, 
the arms of that family from every place in the 
city, Charles the Fifth, in 1529, took upon him- 
felf the obligation of re-eftablifhing entirely that 
family in that city : and to this end he commif- 
fioned Filibert, prince of Orange, to lay fiege to 

VOL. III. P Florence 

io6 . Ptftoia. 

Florence with a large army of Italians and Ger- 
mans. The Florentines made great preparations 
for defence, not only of their city, but alfo of 
iPiftoia. They fent into it five companies of 
infantry, and placed each gate of the city under a 
company, and the piazza under the fifth, all under 
commanders in whom they had confidence. ' But 
all thefe exertions of the Florentines for the fecu- 
curity of the city of Piftoia, and to maintain it at 
their devotion, appeared, even to themfejves, to 
be vain and of little moment, if the good-will of 
the two factions of the Panciatichi and Cancellieri 
could not be obtained : and as the Cancellieri were 
already naturally inclined to their views, they 
courted and complimented the Panciatichi as the 
m oft powerful, and as the adherents to the Me- 
dici ; and to accomplifh their purpofe, they called 
to Florence fome of the heads of that party, and 
admitting them into their council of war, affected 
a great efteem for their judgments and opinions in 
things of the greateft importance. The Pancia- 
tichi in Piftoia, however, having the greateft fhare 
of influence, by the favour of the pope and the 
Medici family, placed little confidence in thofe 
who at this time had the fway in Florence ; they 
therefore created a new magiftrate over all affairs 
of the war, and gave him ample authority to do 
every thing for the advantage of the city. This 
magiftrate efteemed the five companies inefficient 
for the defence of the city, and fent to Florence 
for more ; but he was anfwered that the troops of 
Charles the Fifth were approaching to lay feige to 
Florence, and that the forces of their enemies 
increafed every day, fo that they had enough to 
think and to do for their own defence ; that the 
Piftoians muft therefore make ufe of the means 
they had for their own falvation : and to this 


Fioravanti. .107 

end they gave orders to their commiflary, who 
refided in Piftoia in behalf of the commons of 
Florence, that he mould releafe freely into the 
hands of tire Piftoians the balia of their city, that 
they might both govern and defend themfelves ; 
and to their foldiers, ported as guards, to return 
with all poflible expedition to Florenee. Thefe 
orders of their principals were fuddenly executed 
by the commiflary and podefta. Piftoia remained 
free from the yoke of the Imperial vicars, provid- 
ed itfelf with men, arms, and provifions : but 
dreading the army of Charles the Fifth on one fide, 
and the Panciatichi at lead courting the Medici, 
they fent four amdafladors of the Panciatichi 
party to offer the keys of the city to the pope, 
and pray his interceflion with the emperor that 
his army might not enter their territory. Many 
of the citizens, intimidated by the uncertainty of 
the times, abfented themfelves. The oppofite 
party prevailed too in another meafure, the ap- 
pointment of ambafladors to Florence to obtain a 
re-confideration of their refolution. This pro- 
duced fuch a rage in the Panciatichi party, that 
one of the ambafladors, Tonti, was aflaffinated, 
and a riot inftantly enfued, in which eighteen of 
the Cancellieri loft their lives, and the whole 
party was driven out of the city, and their houfes 
plundered and burnt, particularly the celebrated 
palace of that family near St. Luke's. The prin- 
cipal aftors in this mifchief made a rich booty of 
money and jewels, fled to Bologna, where they 
were moft gracioufly received and pardoned by the 

At this time followed the real extinction of the 
faction of the Cancellieri ; becaufe the Panciatichi, 
favourites of the pontiff,as adherents of the houfe'of 
Medici, aflumed fuch vigour, that enraged not only 

again (I 

io8 Piftoia. 

againfl the Cancellieri of the city, but of the coun- 
try, both on the plain and in the mountains, they 
facked, burnt, and deftroyed, the greater part of 
their houfes,fpreading ruin and devaftation as they 
went, in Cavinana, Lanciole, Caftigliano, Spig- 
nano, and all the other caftles and pofieflions of 
the Cancellieri. The people of Serra, followers 
of the Panciatichi, burnt the caftieof Calamecca, 
which held for the party of the Cancellieri ; thefe 
were fo inflamed with refentment, that, with the 
help of fome companies of Lombards, they com- 
pelled their enemy to fly, fome of whom retreat- 
ing, to fecure the church of Crefpole, were there 
belieged, and finally ail put to death : others re- 
tired to the balcony, and there fortified themfelves, 
fo as to hope to efcape the fury of their perfecu- 
tors, but in vain, for the afiailanls, difappointed 
of their vengeance by the fword, refolved to ob- 
tain it by famine. The Panciatichi being reduced 
to this ftate, one of their moil daring foldiers, 
named Appollonio di Dante, to deliver his compa- 
nions from the hands of their enemies, precipi- 
tated himfelf from the tower, and his cloak taking 
the wind, he defcended with no other injury than 
a flight hurt in one of his arms. Running firft to 
Serra, and then to Piftoia, he excited one of the 
Collefi to march, with a good body of foldiers, to 
the relief of the befieged. After this, Pitellio, 
Pupillio, and Mammiano, by revolting to the 
party of the Panciatichi, fuffered no other damage 
than the lofs of a multitude of their inhabitants, 
who were chafed from their habitations as adhe- 
rents to the Cancellieri. 

The pope, Clement the Seventh, accepted the 
gift of the city, and by a letter or charter, directed 
to his beloved fons the priors, gonfalonier, and 
people of the city of Piftoia, fent his pontifical 


Fioravanti. 1 09 

commiflary to take poiTefiion. The Panciatichi had 
now exterminated the Cancellieri, and obtained 
the power of governing ; but it was at the expence 
of fubjedting both themfelves and their country to 
a foreign power and another rival family. 

Charles the Fifth, the 28th of October, 1530, 
confdtuted Alexander de Medici governor, not 
only of Florence, but of all Tufcany, to the ex- 
treme joy and fatisfaclion of Clement the Seventh. 
Thus pope and emperor, Guelphs and Ghibellines, 
Bianci and Neri, Panciatichi and Cancellieri, were 
at laft all brought to unite, as all fuch conftituti- 
ons of government ever have united, at laft, in a 
government of all authority in one centre, but 
that centre aworthlefs, however artful, defpot. 

The Piftoians were in hopes, that at leaft under 
an abfolute prince they might enjoy a little tran- 
quillity : but in 1531 the ufual difgufts between 
the two factions of Panciatichi and Cancellieri 
began to fpring up. Although the former, by 
the partiality of the houfe of Medici, were in- 
dulged in all their caprices, yet finding then> 
felves now increafmg in ftrength, nothing would 
fatisfy them but the total expulfion from the city, 
and the complete deftru&ion, of all that belonged 
to the Cancellieri. Tumults and daughter arofe, 
and no man had the knowledge or the will to pro- 
vide a remedy. 

Alexander de Medici took poffeflion of his 
principality in Florence, and great rejoicings were 
made in Piftoia,- and four ambafladors tent to 
prefent the congratulations of their city, and 
recommend it as having been always faithful 
lovers of his family. The forty-eight ienators, 
inftituted in Florence this year under Alexander, 
pacified the two factions of Panciatichi and Can- 
cellieri, and thofe perfons and families who re- 

no, Piftoia. 

mained of the latter fa&ion returned to the city^ 
to the joy of all. 

Alexander diftinguifhed Pifloia from all other 
places under his dominion, for its great affedion 
and fweet love to his family, by giving orders 
that all the bufmefs of Piftoia mould be addrefled 
immediately to himfelf in perfon. 

Charles the Fifth having determined the un- 
truth of the accufations of tyranny brought againft 
Alexander de Medici by the Florentine exiles, 
made a vifit to Piftoia, where he was received and 
entertained in the public palace. 

Alexander took it into his head that commif- 
faries and governors were deftructive to a (late, 
and therefore abolifhing the office, he difarmed 
the inhabitants as inclined to tumults, and def- 
tined ten noble Piftoians to govern their city. On 
the 6th of January, this year, Alexander was aflaf- 
finated by Lorenzo, and Cofimo fucceeded. When 
the news of this afiaflination arrived in Piftoia, 
the heads of the Panciatichi party affembled, and, 
after mature deliberation, concluded that the pre- 
fent was a convenient opportunity for deftroying 
totally all remnants of the Cancellierian party. To 
this purpofe they excited an infurreclion of all 
their fadionaries, under colour of maintaining the 
city of Piftoia in its devotion to the houfe of 
Medici. They made leaders of Gio. Collefi and 
fome others, and with a great multitude fcoured 
the city, and in a very fhort time aflaffinated fif- 
teen. Many others, hoping to fecure themfelves, 
took poft in the fortreffes, but, betrayed by the 
commanders, who let in the Panciatichi, they 
were miferably deprived of their lives. The par- 
tifans of the Cancellieri, feeing that they could not 
refift the fierce aflaults of the contrary faction, 
went to hide themfelves, fome in the towns, fome 


Fioravanti. 1 1 1 

in the monafteries, and others in fubterraneous 
places ; others went out of the city, found a 
leader, and hazarded a battle with their enemies, 
in which many were killed, and others afterwards 
burnt in fteeples. Many, who had forefeen fuch 
an event, had before retired to Montale and Mon- 
tenurlo, places of their faction : fo that the Pan- 
ciatichi remaining dominators without controul in 
Piftoia, facked, burnt, and deftroyed all the houfes, 
{hops, and (lores, which remained of the contrary 
party in the city. 

Cofimo the Firfl had afcended the throne of 
Tufcany, and ambafladors were fent from Piftoia 
to congratulate him. At the fame time the fac- 
tionaries of the Cancellieri, who had taken refuge 
in Montale, conflituting their leader the captain 
Guidotto Pazzaglia, their compatriot, and a head 
of the Cancellierian faction (whom, though aged, 
and weakened by fo many military fatigues, 
was retired to his eftate called the Houfe in the 
Wood*, fortified by a thick and high wall, and de- 
fended by a high and ftrong tower) they intreat- 
ed him to engage in their defence, and obftrucl: 
the approaches of the Panciatichi. Pazzaglia took 
under his command all the fa&ionaries of his 
party, and, by a fecret correfpondence which he 
had with Philip Strozzi, increafed his numbers to 
four hundred men, whom he quartered in his own 
habitation. From this poft they took the licence 
to go out frequently to the annoyance of the Pan- 
ciatichi, and gave them much difturbance and 
many apprehenfions. The Panciatichi, to make 
a diversion and a divifion of the forces of the 
country party, which every day increafed in 
power, went and commenced a cruel warfare with 

* La Cafa al Bofco. 


'112 fiftola. 

the Cancellieri of Cavinana. Thefe were made 
uneafy, and retired to their fleeples, where they 
made a brave defence. At this time the com- 
mitTarytook the refolution of bridling the parties 
by authority and with rigour : but the Panciatichi, 
who were more than a thoufand men in number, 
in contempt of juftice, and fparing neither age, 
nor condition, nor fex, executed in a fhort time a 
cruel vengeance on their adverfaries by fire and 
fword ; and going on every day increafmg in fero- 
city, they increased their murders, rapines, and 
fires, till they reduced Cavinana, St. Marcello, 
Crefpole, Calamecca, Lanciole, Pupillio, and other 
places, to horrid fpe&acles of defolation. Many 
of the Cancellieri, perceiving that fortune was 
not favourable to them, retired to the parifh 
church of Cutigliano, and there fortified, flood 
upon their defence, without lofing their prefence 
of mind, waiting from the brave captain Luca 
Giacomelli fome convenient fuccour, by which 
they might once attempt an attack upon the rear 
of the Panciatichi, who, to increafe their power 
both in numbers and fituation, had taken a pod 
very near them. Thefe diforders were very dif- 
pleafing to the duke Cofimo de Medici, and he 
took great pains, by means of his commiflary, to 
reftore quiet to the Cancellieri, to which the Pan- 
ciatichi at length confented. Neverthelefs the 
church was fcarcely opened, when they fell into 
fuch a furious rage, that they fell upon every one 
of the Cancellieri, and cut them to pieces. Co- 
flino was not difcouraged, even by this outrage, 
from ufing other means to reftore quiet to Piftoia, 
and at laft reduced fome part of it to good order. 
But the fadion of the Panciatichi, having no 
longer any of the Cancellieri on whom to vent 
their rage, turned all their hatred and indignation 



one another. The fatio*n became divid- 
ed into two, which rufhed into fuch perfecutions 
of each other, that innumerable quarrels and 
murders fucceeded. The example was followed 
among their connexions in Florence, which gave 
occafion to the rectors of that city, who dreaded 
greater diforders, to draw the two parties to a. 
truce. At the fame time the duke Cofimo was 
exactly informed, that the captain Pazzaglia re- 
ceived daily additions to the numbers in his 
houfe : by the affiftance of Philip Strozzi, and the 
other exiles, many were induced daily to go into 
his fervice, and increafed the terror which they 
had of this great captain. Defirous of providing 
againft every fmifter event, which he forefaw might 
occur, not only from the great number of men 
who were aflembled at the Houfe in the Wood, but 
from the thoufands of men which Pazzaglia at'the 
found of a bell was able to raife, the duke, after 
having in vain attempted to gain him by means of 
fome friends, fent Otta da Montauto, with a thou- 
fand infantry, to attack the Houfe in the Wood, 
and make prifoners of its garrifon. Montauto 
by forced marches fat down before the place, but 
difcovered early by Pazzaglia, who, always vjgi- 
lant, faw every thing, and thought of every dan- 
ger, he was fiercely repulfed. Montauto preceiv- 
ing the enterprize to be difficult which he had 
thought fo eafy, fent to his brother Frederick, 
who commanded the guards in Piftoia, for imme- 
diate fuccour. The prompt arrival of this aid 
alarmed Pazzaglia, who finding himfelf befieged 
by a great number of foldiers, and not hearing the 
bell of Montale, which he had ordered one of his 
officers to ring, to aflemble the affiftance he ex- 
pected from that and other places, he ventured out 
of his habitation, clothed and armed like a fol- 
VOL. III. ( dier 

H4 Pijloia. 

dier, and with a joyful countenance went to meet 
his befieger, and demanding fafety for himfelf and 
his foldiers, put himfelf into his hands. Montauto 
received Pazzaglia with a fmiling countenance* 
and knowing him to be humane, generous, and 
polite, he knew not how to refufe his command. 
1 hey both entered the Houfe in the Wood, where 
they reirefhed thenifelves fo fplendidly, that 
Montauto, admiring ftill more the gr.eatnefs of 
foul of Pazzaglia, could not without tears conduct 
him to the prefence of the duke. Cofimo had 
enough of policy as well as generofity to receive 
him like an intimate and confidential friend. He 
took him to his moil confidential confultations, 
and decided on no affair of ft ate without his 
advice. The duke, perceiving that the ten noble 
Piftoians, deftined to govern the city, had not 
fulfilled the obligations enjoined upon them, nor 
preferved good order, reftored the ufe of the 
ancient offices of Podefta and commiflary. He 
promoted to thefe offices men of moderation as 
well as of fpirit, and thought by their means to 
remedy all diforders ; but there flill remained 
enough of the citizens inclined to quarrel, to keep 
the city in tumults, and to vilify all juftice. 

Niccolo Braccioli had infmuated himfelf into 
favour with the duke, by having revealed to him a 
confpiracy of the Salviati, Rodolfi, Strozzi, and 
Valori, and was appointed to the command of 
certain companies of infantry which were in gar- 
rifon there. This officer, recollecting that Fran- 
cefco Brunozzi had been averfe to include him 
in the lad. truce made between the factions by the 
mediation of the Florentines, conceived the defign 
of taking a rough revenge of all the Brunozzi 
family. For this purpofe he put himfelf at the 
head of his adherents, collected a confiderable 


Fioravanti. 115 

body of armed men, befides thofe which Gio. 
Collefi held concealed in his houfe ready for any 
orders of Braccciolini, went through the city in 
fearch of Brunozzi, and having found him, de- 
prived him of his life. He proceeded to fet fire 
to his houfe, and all the other houfes of the fami- 
ly, but was obliged to get porTeflion of them at 
the point of the fword. The Brunozzi made a 
brave defence, but were inferior in numbers, and 
three fons of Francefco were left dead, and the reft 
fled to fome obfcure place. Not fatisfied with 
this, Bracciolini proceeded to the country houfes 
of the family, with a foldiery as tyrannical as him- 
felf, and there committed all imaginable cruelty, 
burning and deflroying every thing. For this 
cruel revenge he was afterwards condemned to pay 
to the furviving Brunozzi only two thoufand five 
hundred ducats for damages. At the fame time 
many exiles from Florence, defirous of depofing 
from the throne of Tufcany the duke Cofimo de 
Medici, in ordrr, as they pretended, to fet their 
country at liberty, collected together at Miran- 
dola four thoufand infantry, and three hundred 
cavalry, and gave the command of them to Piero 
Strozzi, who took for his colleague Baccio Va- 
lori, and came with one divifion towards Piftoia, 
and halting at Montemurlo, waited for the reft of 
the army. The party of the Cancellieri, who 
there expected them, received them with tranf- 
ports of joy ; and having repaired the fortifica- 
tions, and furnifhed the cattle with every neceflary, 
they all, being fifteen hundred men in number, 
thought of nothing elfe but doing infinite rhif- 
chief to the party of the Panciatichi. They 
burned Satornana, Valdibura, Uzzo, and Capo di 
Strada, carrying off from all places a rich booty. 
Making no account of the government of Flo- 

n 6 Piftoia. 

rence, the Cancellieri made all their efforts to re- 
enter Piftoia, and the exiles from Florence had no 
other view than to deliver their country from the 
government of the Medici ; fo that all were 
agreed to aflemble men, provide arms, and col- 
lect money, that they might be able by force to 
wreft the command from the duke Cafimo. That 
fovereign informed of this, and that thofe in rebel- 
lion againft him were with much folicitude forti- 
fied, every day increafed in force, and did very 
great damage, ordered Alexander Vitelli, Otto 
da Montauto, and Piero Pipicciano, that in the 
night they mould depart from Florence with their 
troops, with three thoufand Spaniards, and two 
regiments of Germans, and go to the afTault of 
Montemurlo : and that the force of the enemy 
might be diverted and difunited, he ordered the 
captain Frederick da Montauto, then in Piftoia, 
to unite the force of his companies with thofe of 
the party of the Panciatichi ; and the fame night, 
with cries and fires fpread terror in the neighbour- 
hood of Montemurlo, that the party of the Can- 
cellieri might be neceflitated to abandon it. The 
party of the Panciatichi, adhering in all things to 
the will of the duke, united with the forces of Fre- 
derick da Montauto, and in a dark night fet all in 
an uproar the country of Alliana, and from thence 
went to burn the houfes of the abbey of Pacciana. 
* Setting fire to a multitude of ricks of hay and flacks 
of corn belonging to the common people, they 
con ft rained the captain Bati Rofpigliofi, the cap- 
tain Francefco Gattefchi, the captain Francefco 
Arferuoli, the captain Luca<jiacomeltt, with many 
others of the exiles, to abandon Montemurlo and 
the neighbouring places, to go and fuccour their 
factionaries of the abbey at Pacciana. A fevere 
obftinate battle enfued, in which, in the end, 



Fioravantt. 1 1 7 

the Panciatichi were fuperior, with the death of 
fixty perfons of both parties, among whom were 
numbered the captain Mattana, with five foldiers 
of Cutigliano, who were enough to put in. doubt 
the vi&ory. The head of Mattana was carried to 
Piftoia, and, amidft the exultations and rejoicings 
of his adverfaries, carried to the piazza as a fpec- 
tacle to all. This detachment of the exiles being 
at break of day, the id of Auguft, 1537, defeated, 
Vitelli and Montauto, knowing that the principal 
heads of the rebels were in the caftle, went to the 
attack of Montemurlo, and finding it in all parts ill 
manned, they animated their people, and afiaulted 
the fortrefs, which, after a refiftance of five hours, 
was carried. Pietro Strozzi, attempting to make 
his efcape, fell into the hands of the befiegers ; a 
thoufand men of both parties were flain, and Phil- 
lip Strdzzi, Baccio Valori, Francefco degli Al- 
bizzi, and many others, were conducted prifoners 
to Florence, where, as rebels both to the date and 
the empire, they were put to death. This was 
the eftablifhment and the bafis of the grandeur of 
Cofimo the Firfl de Medici, who afterwards, on 
the 3oth of September, obtained a mod ample 
diploma of the emperor Charles the Fifth. Upon 
this memorable viclory the Pifloians congratulated 
the duke with an excefs of joy by their ambaffa- 
dors ; and the party of the Panciatichi, who had 
rendered all poflible affiftance, recollecting that the 
Cancellieri of the Houfe in the Wood had taken 
refuge in the parifli church of Cutigliano, when 
that place was facked by the captain Vincenzo di 
Poggio, and the proud towers which were there 
were ruined to the foundation, they now haf- 
tened with fuch ferocity to the afiault of that 
church, that, after a long and good defence, the 
befieged, without hope of fuccour, furrendered at 


tiS . Plftma. 

difcretion to their enemie, who uniting with thofe 
of Valdibura, of Cireglio, and of Uzzo, their ad- 
herents, burned of the Cancellieri more than thir- 
teen hundred houfes in the commons of Bigiano, 
in the abbey of Pacciana,in Chiazzano, Satornana, 
Calamecca, Crefpole, and Lanciole. 

The, emperor preparing in Lombardy for bat- 
tle againft Francis the Firft, king of France, and 
relying on the valour of Piero Strozzi, general of 
the Italian infantry, the Pifloians were agitated 
with fears, and made great preparations for de- 

The controverfy between Piftoia and Lucca, 
about the boundary between them near Pupillio, 
being adjufted, the duke Cofimo was defirous of 
eftablifhing the peace of the city ; and for this 
object, with menaces and efficacious admonitions, 
he did not ceafe to prefs the obftinate citizens to 
fubmit to a regular life, and reduced their affairs 
for once to good order and a ftate of tranquillity : 
but as the Piftoians, in their unbalanced ftate, 
had no other confolation than to (land immerfed 
in diffentions, quarrels, and difcords, they gave no 
attention to the fovereign councils, but went on 
more tumultuous, wicked, and feditious, deftroy- 
ing the good order of government, reducing every 
fhing without controul, to the advantage of their 
private interefts, and the wantonnefs of their wild 
caprices*. The indignation of the duke was at 
laft excited againft thefe obftinate brains, whom 
he thought it his duty to tame, by taking from 
them all the honours, public offices, and reve- 
nues of the city, as well as the inftitutions of 
charity, and to fhut up the palace, the refidence of 

* Sempre piu tumultuanti, e facinorofi, e feditiofi, qucf- 
tando il buon ordin del governo, riducevano quello, fanza 
freno, ai vantaggi dei propri intereffi, e difordinati capricci. 


Fioravanti 119 

the fupreme magistrates. With this view he 
ele&ed four commifiaries for the affairs of Piftoia, 
and gave them full authority to fulfil his determi- 
nation. All this was ordained and eftablifhed at 
the inftigation of certain citizens of Piftoia, and 
rendered vain all the efforts of the people : fmce, 
by the tenor of the fovereign command, all the 
magistracies and offices of the citywerefupprefled, 
and the adminiftration of all the revenues and in- 
ftitutions of charity was configned to Taddeo 
Guiducci, and Chriftopher Ranieri, with the title 
of Proveditors General, who received into their 
poffeffion all the moveables of the bublic palace, 
and the fupreme magistrates who had refided in it 
were difmifled. Six citizens were deputed, with 
the title of Proveditors of the Commons, to whom 
the palace was committed : thefe, with the red- 
dent commiflary, and not otherwife, aflembled to 
treat of the affairs of their city. Thefe having 
held the office a certain time, it was permitted to 
the Pifloians to draw fix fubje&s from a purfe 
deftined to that ufe ; but the duke apprehending 
that thefe new regulations would excite infurrec- 
tions, he fent a body of foldiers only three hun- 
dred and fifty in number, to difarm the citizens, 
and rein-in the feditious and the wicked ; ampli- 
fied the fortifications, and furnifhed them with 
every neceflary. Many of the Piftoians now con- 
fidered themfelves as flaves, and thought their 
nobility debafed by the privation of all the ho- 
nours, public offices, and revenues : they thought 
it inconfiftent with the dignity of their blood to 
lead a life fo obfcure and inglorious : many 
therefore retired from the city, and went to inha- 
bit in other places ; hence the city was in dan- 
ger of depopulation, became defective in many 
arts of convenience and neceffity, and nothing 



was beared but fighs, groans, and lamentation^ 
The few inhabitants who remained, knowing the 
great damage which had refulted to their coun- 
try from this refolution of the duke, were never 
fatislied with venting their reproaches and curfes 
againft thole who had advifed it ; and they would 
have attempted more fuch great things as com- 
pofe the whofe hiftory of their country, if many 
had not been difheartened by the rigour of the 
new government. 

' All the foldiers in garrifon at Piftoia being, 
in obedience to the orders of the fovereign, gone, 
with all thofe in the flate of Florence, to make 
their honours and acclamations on the happy 
marriage of the duke Cofimo with Leonora, the 
daughter of don Peter of Toledo, marquis of 
Villa Franca, and viceroy of Naples, the Cancel- 
lieri efteemed the opportunity convenient to rife 
and take vengeance on the Panciatichi. As all 
the foldiers and many of the citizens, were gone 
to Florence, the Cancellieri, refolved to enter the 
city in the night, and kill all the Panciaitchi* 
without pardoning or fparing one,' that there 
might not remain the lead memorial of them. 
They hired people from various places, of every 
quality, and fome of the moft brave, intrepid, and 
defperate ; and having gained over to their party 
many in the city, that they might, at a critical 
.moment, open the gates, they introduced, in 
fmali numbers at a time, many of their moft def- 
perate men, and quartered them, in perfect fecrecy, 
in the houfcs of their adherents and partifans. 
They elected for their captain Gio. Tonti, who 
entered the fervice in the night of the ifth of 
June, and put in order more than four hundred 
foldiers, and marched with them to the gate of 
St.;Mark 5 at Piftoia, where the walls were loweft. 


Fioravanti. 121 

gave the concerted fignal to thofe within, that 
with their knowledge he might enter the city 
unknown to their enemies. At the fignal of 
Tonti, thofe who were upon" the walls let down 
fuddenly one of their men, with orders to fay to 
thofe without, that they had waited for hours, and 
becaufe day approached, many had retired to their 
houfes for fear of a difcovery ; and that therefore 
it would be advifable to delay the enterprize till 
the next night. Hearing this, Tonti fent imme- 
diately one of his aids to defire thofe upon the 
walls not to depart, and inftantly confulting his 
colleagues, he found but one for waiting till the 
next night. Tranfported with impatience, Tonti 
at once cried out to his foldiers, " Now is the 
" time to mew our courage !" and placing a 
ladder againfl the wall, mounted to the top, and 
haftily moving his ladder to come near a certain 
ftone, in order to leap out upon the wall, he fell 
with it into the ditch. His people hearing the 
noife of his fall, but not feeing, by reafon of the 
thicknefs of the air, what had happened, they 
fufpected that they were difcovered, and that 
Tonti had been repulfed by the contrary party. 
Thofe therefore who, had afcended on other lad- 
ders turned back, and gave themfelves to flight, 
very few remaining for the defence of Tonti ; 
among thefe the mod fpirited and the mod faith- 
ful prefled to fee what had happened, and difco- 
vered Tonti, with one thigh broken, halfdea'din 
the ditch': understanding the truth from him, 
they placed him on a ladder, and with the aflift- 
ance of his brother, carried him to a houfe in the 
neighbourhood as a place of fecurity. In this 
unfortunate circumftance, Simon Gattefchi, and 
Philip Ghelardini, perfons of great zeal and 
activity, prepared to carry on the enterprize. 
R Confiding 

122 Piftoia.- 

Confiding much in the afliftance of thofe in the 
city, they haftened early, with thirty followers, to 
the gage of St. Mark, and rinding it open, entered 
the city, and marched to the piazza. As many 
of the Panciatichi as they found they killed, 
which raifed a great uproar in the city, and inti- 
midated the people fo much, that all retired to 
their habitations. The heads of the Panciatichi 
obferving that the rioters were very few, and that 
none in the city gave them affiftance, took cou- 
rage, and making, by order of the commiffary, a 
hafty collection of men, they began with thefe to 
purfue the others with fo much fpirit, that fome of 
them fled out of the city, went towards Cireglio 
and Cavinana, there made a rich prey, and efcap- 
<rd into Lombardy. Others were taken and fe- 
verely punilhed, and afterwuads all the accom- 
plices of the confpiracy were by a public procla- 
mation declared rebels : thus ended the tumult. 
The commiflary afterwards ordered to be arrefted 
many of the Cancellieri party, which was about 
fifty in number, held them three months in prifon, 
put fome of them to the torture, by which he 
difcovered the truth of the fact, and then fet all 
at liberty, without condemning any.' 

All contradiction and opposition being fuppref- 
fed, and the harveft being plentiful, the Piftoians 
thought no felicity fuperior to theirs, and they 
thought it lawful to forget the paft by immerfing 
themfelves in a lea of pleafures, by the allurements 
of which they were feduced into a very vicious and 
expenfive life. 

Cofimo acknowledged that the privation of 
honours and offices had decreafed the population 
of the city,diminimed commerce and the revenue, 
and therefore efteemed it his intereft, as well as 
that of the public, that the .city mould be reftored 


Fioravanti. 123 

to its primitive ftate. On the 3<Dth of March, 
1547, he granted in favour of the Piftoians, all 
the honours and public offices, and all the pri- 
vileges, which were eitablifhed in the year 1496, 
in the convention with the Florentines. The 
purfes were foon formed of the ufual magiftrates, 
and all the perfons worthy of that pre-eminence 
and thofe honours had their names imborfed, and 
the fubjects were drawn with univerfal rejoicings. 

The reprefentatives of the factions of Cancel- 
lieri, under the name of Dormentoni, and thofe 
of the Panciatichi, under that of Rifoluti, made by 
fome among the fports and (hows of the Carnival, 
with habits and ornaments proper to that age, 
excited fome injurious words and confufions, of 
fo ferious a nature, that there was great danger of 
reviving the ancient animofities and infurreclions : 
but the duke Cofimo caufed to be arrefted the in- 
ventors of thofe mafquerades, intimidated their 
followers, and reftored the public tranquillity ; 
and, to make the greater impreflion on the people, 
and fecure their quiet for the future, he puniftied 
the prifoners in an exemplary manner. 

The government continued abfolute in the fa- 
mily of Dedici till the year 1737, when, upon the 
death of John Gafton the Firft, the laft grand 
duke of that family, without iflue, the family 
became extinct. Don Carlos, king of Naples, in 
his own name, and Philip the Fifth,king of Spain, 
not only in his own name, but alfo in the name of 
the infant don Philip, and don Louis, and the other 
fons whom he might have by the queen of Spain, 
renounced all right and pretence, which they or 
their defcendants might have, to the fucceflion of 
the grand dukedom of Tufcany, and transferred 
all fuch rights, actions, or pretences, to Francefco 
di Leopoldo, duke of Lorrain and Bar, his heirs 


124 Plftola. 

and fucceffors ; and Piftoia foon fwore allegiance 
to the new fovereign. And here ends another 
mofl fplendid example of the bleflings and feli- 
cities of a republic without three orders forming 
a mutual balance ! It is quite unneceflary to 
excite the reientment, or flatter the Vanity, of any 
individuals or families in America, by mentioning 
their names : but if you begin at New-Hampihire, 
and proceed through all the ftates to Georgia, you 
will at once be able to fix your thoughts upon 
fome five or fix families in each (late, fome two 
of whom will, in the courfe of fifty years, perhaps 
of five (unlefs they are retrained by an indepen- 
dent executive power, three independent branches 
in the legislature, and an independent judicial 
department) be able to divide the ftate into two 
parties, one generally at the head of the gentle- 
men, the other of the fimplemen, tear one another 
to pieces, and rend the vitals of their country with 
as ferocious animofity, as unrelenting rancour and 
cruelty, as ever actuated the Cancellieri and the- 
Panciatichi in Piftoia. And it will not be the 
fault ofthefe individuals or. families ; they will 
not be able to avoid it, let their talents or virtues 
be what they may : their friends, connections, and 
dependents, will Simulate and urge them forward, 
by every provocation of flattery, ridicule and me- 
naces, until they plunge them into an abyfs, out of 
which they can never rife : It will be entirely the 
fault of the conftitution, and of the people who will 
not now adopt a good one : it will be the misfor- 
tune of thofe individuals and families as much as 
of the public ; for what confolation can it be to a 
man, to think that his whole life, and that of his 
ion and grandfoh, mud be fpent in unceafing 
mifery and warfare, for the fake only of a poflibi- 
lity that his great grandfon may become a defpot ! 


C 13 5 '] 



Dear Sir, 

/CREMONA had preferved under the go- 
V_v4 vernment of confuls until 1180, when (he 
changed the form of her government, reducing all 
the authority of the confuls to one perfon alone, 
who, from the fupreme power which was given 
him, was denominated a podefta. The elections 
of confuls had occafioned fuch contefts among the 
principal families (as none could be elected to 
that dignity who were not citizens) that it was 
now ordained by law, that none mould be elected 
to the office of podefta who was not a foreigner, 
and a citizen of any other city, a,s mould be 
agreeable to the council, provided he was not 
related by blood to any of the electors, had a 
real eftate in the city or country, and was. arrived 
at leaft to thirty-fix years of age : and, above all 
things, they fought for men of prudence and moft 
eminent reputation, to whom, as foon as they 
were elected, they fent letters by a public order, 
praying them to accept the dignity offered them ; 
and on the day when they made their entry into 
the city, with a public concourfe and acclamations, 
they -were by the whole people fotemnly met and 
received. They carried in ceremony the enfigns 
of their authority, the furred cap, the long fword, 
the rod, and the fceptre* : and becaufe for the 

* II capello, et il ftovo, et la verga, o fcettro, 


126 Cremona. 

moft part they were men of military talents, as 
\vell as fkilful in the laws, they concluded with 
them judges expert in the legal fcience, by whofe 
means they heard and tried all caufes civil and 
criminal,, and affembled the council when it was 
neceffary. After this change of magiftracy from 
confuls to a podefta, which, however, was of fhort 
duration and little (lability, fuch was their in- 
conftancy, that they created fometimes a podefta, 
fometimes confuls, and at other times both con- 
fuls and a podefta together ; and there occurred 
to the ilate and republic of Cremona many and 
very great difturbances. 

Cremona, in 1183, fent her ambafifadors to 
Placentia, where were aflembled all the ambaf- 
fadors of the other cities of Lombardy, Marca, 
and Romagna, together with the ambaffadors of 
the emperor, and king Henry his fon, in May. 
At this afiembly it was concluded, that all the 
cities mould fend their ambafladors to the diet of 
Conftance, a principal city of Germany, to eftablifh 
the peace negociated between the emperor and 
the cities. The twenty-fifth of June, 1183, was 
eftablimed, ratified, and confirmed, that peace, 
fo folemn and fo celebrated, which, from the 
name of the city where it was made, was called 
the peace of Conftance ; a correft copy of which 
treaty is to be found at the end of the fourteenth 
book of Sigonius, of the kingdom of Italy*. 

Such was the inftability of the government, that 
the city returned, in 1190, to the adminiftmtion 
of confuls. 

They in the next year elected a podefta again, 
who led them out to war, but was unfortunate, 
and this made them weary of a podefta ; and the 

* Muratori, Annal. anno 1183. 



Campo. 127 

next year they created confuls, and confuls were 
annually elected until 1195, when they returned 
to a podefta. All this is perfectly natural : the 
people were diftrefled<by the conteft of the prin- 
cipal families when they had confuls,, and there- 
fore wi fried to* have a foreigner as a podefta to 
keep them in order. The principal families, 
however, ftruggled for confuls, that they might 
have the rule ; and one party prevailed this year, 
and the other the next. 

The confuls, in 1198, to fupply the city with 
water, dug a well, and built a conduit of water, 
which was afterwards called the Murmur, from 
the complaints of the people againft the expence 
of it, which were fo great, that they rofe in tu- 
mults, and infifted in choofing a podefta. Cre- 
mofmo Oldrino was accordingly appointed, and 
governed jointly with the confuls to the end of the 

Any one may purfue at his leifure the particu- 
lars of the changes from confuls to podefta, and 
from podefta to confuls, till the year 1 209, when, 
upon the appointment of confuls, there arofe dif- 
cords and civil feditions, which brought the re- 
public to the brink of ruin. The city became 
divided as it were into two, by a rivulet that 
paflfes through it ; on one fide it was called the 
New City, and on the other the Old, though all the 
popular men of the old city joined with the new : 
in fhort, the divifion was between the gentlemen 
and the populars at bottom. The new city arofe 
in tumults, and were joined by all but the gentle- 
men in the old, made new magistrates and go- 
vernors, and congregated together to conftitute a 
new general council at Sant' Agata. 

The old city and the new, each, made its 
podefta, and many quarrels and civil wars fol- 


lowed ; and the hatred between perfons and par- 
ties increafing, as if they had not been born in, 
the fame city, but had been mod cruel enemies, 
they foaked the bofom of* their common mother ' 
with blood, and had no mercy on her houfes or 
riches, which they confumed by fire. But with 
much pains and interceflions of the biihop, a 
peace was made, by which the podefta of the new 
city fubmitted to the podefta of the old, and 
fwore obedience to him, with this refervation, how- 
ever, that he was to be podefta of the people. 

The civil war was renewed in 1211, between 
the citizens of the old and the new city. The 
two factions proceeded to a fharp conflict, and 
after having killed an infinite number of citizens, 
thofe of the old city fet fire to the houfes in the 
neighbourhood of the fcene of action, and con- 
furned every thing in them. The year before 
Otto had been excommunicated by Innocent," 
the pope, and deprived of the empire, and Frede- 
rigo Rogerio, was elected in his place : for this 
reafon the Cremonefe went this year in favour of 
the marquis of Efte, and drove out of Ferrara 
Uguccione de Guarnefi, who was podefta there in 
the name of Otto. 

In 1 2 1 2 civil difcords were fomewhat appeafed, 
and confuls were appointed. The wars between 
Cremona, and Milan, and Piacentia, may be read 
by thofe who are curious, but are not to our pur- 
pofe. They lafted till 1217, in the beginning of 
which year civil difcords and feditions increafed, 
becaufe the people could not agree in creating the 
magiftrates ; and it was not till after a long 
delay, and the interpolation of the pope, with 
apoftolical exhortations by letter, that they were 
perfuaded to lay afide their hatreds and difcords, 
fo far as to appoint a podefta. 


Campc. 129 

In 221 the mod terrible difcords and civil 
wars, between the gentlemen and the common 
people in Placentia, were accommodated for a 
time, tinder the mediation of Sozzo Coglioni, 
podefta of Cremofla. The fubftance of the peace, 
to which each party fwore, was to lay afide their 
difcords and contentions, and forgive the injuries, 
damages, and mifchiefs, mutually committed 
and received. But of what avail are oaths and 
treaties, which the nature of man and the form of 
the government will not permit to be obferved ? 

This year two noble citizens of Cremona were 
made, one after the other, podeftas of Placentia. 

In the beginning of the year 1229 the difcords 
among the citizens prevailed fo far, that they creat- 
ed confulSj and thofe only for fix months ; and 
this year there was a confederacy of Verona, Mo- 
dena, and Parma, againfl Cremona. 

There arofe, in 1232, in the city of Cremona, 
feditions and civil wars. 

The Cremonefe united with the popular party 
in Placentia, in favour of whom Uberto Pallavi- 
cino, from Cremona, went with an hundred light- 
horfe, to oppofe the noble exiles. 

The Milanefe and Brefcians, joining the noble 
exiles from Placentia, went with a powerful army 
againft Cremona, and deformed the whole coun- 
try with blood and fire. 

In the year 1 242 began to take root in Cre- 
mona thofe abominable and pernicious factions of 
Guelphs and Ghibellines, and infected it to fuch 
a degree, as occafioned an infinite expence of the 
blood of the citizens, an ineftimable deftrudion 
of wealth, an unfpeakable perdition of families, 
and a moft melancholy and miferable ruin of the 

VOL. III. S The 

130 , Cremona, 

The city was, in 1246, divided between the two 
factions ; but the Ghibellines had the majority, and 
obtained the appointment of a podeita. This 
year the emperor Frederick was excommunicated 
by the pope and council at Lyons, in France, and 
Henry duke of 1 huringia was elected. 

The two factions daily increafed in violence. 
The old city, that is the gentlemen, were favour- 
ers of the Ghibellines, and adherents of Frederick, 
the fchifmatical emperor ; and the new city, that 
is the common people, were partifans of the 
Guelphs, who adhered to the holy fee. The 
bloody wars occafioned by this divifion, between 
Frederick and Innocent, and their refpe&ed fol- 
lowers, you will read at your leifure, and you 
will laugh at the terrible difgrace of Cremona in 
the lofs of their triumphial chariot, an infamy 
which none but the gentlemen could obliterate* 
The marquis Uberto, Pallavicino, a mod powerful 
man, and of great reputation, but a zealous Ghi- 
belline and old-city-man, was appointed podefta : 
he fought a memorable battle, made two thoufand 
prifoners, retook the carroccio, and returned in 
triumph to Cremona. 

Campo begins his third book in the manner of 
Machiavel, with deep, grave, and formal reflec- 
tions, as if a diverfity of fentiments, contradictory 
principles, inconfiftent interefls, and oppofite paf- 
lions among the citizens, could be reconciled and 
united by declamations againft difcord and pane- 
gyrics upon unanimity, without a balance, in a 
government pofieffed of fufficient force. Difunion 
of the citizens is, indeed, according to him, the 
worft evil in a city ; for what mortal peftilence 
can bring upon them greater damage than dif- 
cord ? This not only precipitate* noble and illuf- 


Camps. 131 

trious families to ruin, but exterminates powerful 
and famous cities : nor is there any principality or 
kingdom fo (table or well founded that it may not 
be torn up by fa&ions. If this is true, it is (till an 
argument againft constituting a city in fuch a man- 
ner that it muft neceffarily be deftroyed by factions. 
All things are maintained and increafed by concord, 
and go to ruin by difunion ; union brings vi&ory, 
and difcord defeat : enemies are eafily refifted 
when you agree among yourfelves ; when the 
members are difunited from the body, the perfon 
lofes both ftrength and beauty. When Cyrus 
divided the Euphrates into three hundred rivulets, 
a child might ford the largeft of them, though 
his favourite had been drowned in attempting the 
united water. Italy, the lady and the queen of 
the world, after infinite conflagrations, facks, 
flaughters, pillages, fubverfions, and ruins, has 
finally been degraded, by the difcords of her fons, 
into a fervant and a handmaid. All this may be 
true ; but how long will republicans be the dupes 
of their own fimplicity i how long will they 
depend upon fermons, prayers, orations, declama- 
tions, in honour of brotherly love, and againft dif- 
cords,when they know that,without human means, 
it is but tempting and infulting Providence, to 
depend upon them for the happinefs of life, or the 
liberty of fociety !- ^The city of Cremona, to come 
to the prefent point, by its difcords and divifions, 
fuffered intolerable evils, and ultimately loft her 
liberty, falling under the power and domination of 
Uberto Pallavicino : who, taking the opportunity 
from the controverfies, which went on every day 
increafing among citizens, difunited and divided 
into divers factions of new city and old, gentle- 
men and common people, Guelphs and Ghibellines, 


132 Cremona. 

of Capelletti, of Barbarafi, and of Maltraverfi, in 
the year 1251, from podefta, made himfelf abfolute 
lord, patron, and mailer, of the commonwealth, 
by the affiftance of the Ghibellines, who in the 
old city were very numerous and powerful. 

Sozzo Viftarino, a principal nobleman of the 
city of Lodi, maintained, as a guard of his perfon, 
a company of foldiers from Cremona : but the 
whole family of Viftarino being foon afterwards 
banifhed and expelled by the people of Lodi, 
pope Innocent endeavoured to negociate their 
reiteration. But the people would accept of no 
conditions of peace until Milan and Cremona 
made war upon them, and unitedly compelled the 
people of Lodi to receive the Viftarino into their 
city. At the end of the fame year the marquis 
Pillavicino, at the requifition of the people of 
Placentia againft their noble exiles, went, with 
many ceremonies, to the fiege of Rivergaro, to 
which thofe nobles had retired. 

The Cremonians about Rivergaro, in 1252, 
compelled the noble exiles of Placentia to fur- 
render, and their caftles and lands were deftroyed. 
Pellavicino, not content with having made himfelf 
mafter of Cremona, or rather or the old city, 
afpired to the dominion of Placentia, and to this 
end gave trouble enough to the podefta of that 
city. While Pallavicino was mafter of the old 
city, his rivals Boflio Dovara, firft, and Azzolno 
Dovara, of the fame family, were fucceffively 
made lords of the' new city. 

Uberto Pallavicino, in 1253, was by the Pla- 
centians created podefta of that city : but as the 
affairs of Cremona were in a critical and fluc- 
tuating pofture, he left a vice-prodefta at Pla- 


Campo. 133 

The marquis Pallavicino, having arranged af- 
fairs as he would in Crimona, returned to Placen- 
tia in 1254, and, by favour of the Ghibellines, 
was created perpetual governor and lord of that 

Uberto Pallavicino, with the Ghibellines of 
Cremona and Placentia, went to the afliftance of 
Ezelino of Romagna, the mod cruel of tyrants, 
and confederating with him againft the Man- 
touans, configned to fire and Iword the whole 
territory, and laid fiege to the city for three 
weeks, and would have taken it, if the marquis of 
Efte, and the Bolognefe, had not come to its 

A kind of triumvirate was formed between Ez- 
zelino, Pallavicino, and Dovara, who afpired at 
the domination of Lombardy. 

The triumvirate difagfeed, and a new league 
was formed between Palavicino, Dovara, Azzone 
marquis of Efte and Ancona, Louis count of 
Verona, Ferrara, and Padoua, on the one part, 
againft Ezzelino. The particulars of the war, 
and the fuccefs of Pallavicino againft Ezzelino, 
the conqueft of Breffia, and the fubfequent perfe- 
cutions of the Guelph party in that kingdom, may 
be omitted; but in the year 1260 the rage of 
factions and feditions were fo diftrelfing to all 
the cities, that there arofe a new fpecies of pilgri- 
mage and penitence, whofe object was to reftore 
peace among the parties, and obtain the return of 
the exiles to their -proper cities. The number of 
thefe pious and charitable people grew to be pro- 
digious in Tufcany, Romagna, and Lombardy, 
and very auftere were there penitence, and very 
affecting their cries of " Mercy! mercy!" Palla- 
vicino was alarmed, and prohibited, under fevere 
penalties, thefe kind of pilgrimages in Cremona 


134 Cremona. 

and Breflia, becaufe he feared they would prove 
the ruin of thofe feditions and divifions by which 
he maintained the domination of thefe cities. He 
grew proud and infolent, plundered the biihopric, 
and drove the bifliop into exile. 

Palavicino having recovered the city of Placen- 
tia by means of the Ghibellines, went with a no- 
ble company of Cremonians, and eftablifhed a 
government, making podefta, Vifconte Pallavicina, 
a fon of one of his brothers. 

Gandione Dovara, a noble Cremonefe, was, in 
the name of Pallavicino, podefta of Placentia ; 
but the Guelph exiles making an infurrection, he 
was driven out with his garrifon. Pallavicino be- 
gan at this time to be uncommonly jealous of Boflio 

Pallavicino fell into a controverfy with Philip 
della Torre, and detained in Cremona all the 
merchants of Milan, with their effects, pretending 
that Philip was his debtor, for having given him 
affiftance, with his Cremonefe foldiers, to recover 
the caftle of Arona, occupied by Ottone Vifconte, 
archbifhop of Milan. 

Pallavicina, in 1266, grew odious, and the 
factions of the Barbarafi, as well as the Ghibel- 
lines, had plundered the church, fo that the city 
was laid under an interdict ; and the pope's nun- 
cios had influence enough with the people to pro- 
duce a revolution, a depofition of Pallavicino, 
and a reftoration of all the exiles, by the general 

After the depofition of Pallavicino, Boflio Do- 
vara occupied the dominion of Cremona; for,upon 
the return of Amatino Amati, the proper head of 
the contrary faction, from exile, Dovara, with his 
followers, were driyen out of the city ; but he 
went only to Placentia, and there held the domi- 


nion, and appointed to the government a podefta, 
Gerardino Dovara, a relation. 

Uberto Pallavicino having loft the lordfhip of 
the principal cities of Lombardy, died miferably 
in his Sifalgio caftle, in which he was befieged by 
the Parmefans and Placentians. 

Boflio Dovara, with the Ghibelline exiles from 
Cremona, went in favour of Napoleone della 
Torre, againft his enemies at Lodi. This year 
they began in Cremona to create captains of the 

Pontio Amato, a citizen of Cremona, being 
podefta of Milan, was killed in a battle between 
the Torriani, and Ottone Vifconte, archbifhop of 

The Torriani having taken Crema, fet fire to 
it. The Cremonefe of the Guelph faction gave 
affiftance to thofe of Torre, againft Ottone and 
the other Vifconti, with whom were Boflio Dova- 
ra of the Ghibelline faction, who prepared em- 
ployment enough to the Torriani. 

The Cremonefe and Parmefans, defirous of ef- 
facing the memory of the injuries done them in 
times paft, reftored their triumphal chariot of 
the podefta, which had been laid afide. Great 
joy was difcovered upon this occafion, and the 
two cities entered into a ftric~t confederation with 
the Modenefe and Reggians, and the marquis of 
Efte. The principal article of this league was, 
that they mould affift the inhabitants of Lodi, who 
were molefted by the Milanefe, who favoured the 
party of the Vifconti, of which the marquis of 
Monferrato was captain. Boflio Dovara, and 
Gabrino di Monza, who were alfo of the faction of 
the Vifconti, entered into Crema with four hun- 
dred foldiers on horfeback, and as many on foot, 
the Guelphs having fled. 


136 Cremona. 

The Torriani being exiled from Lodi, took 
refuge in Cremona, and at the fame time Bofiio 
Dovara, fallying out from Crema, took by ftrata- 
gem Soncino and Romanengo, caflles in the ju- 
rifdi&ion of Cremona. The Cremonefe of the 
Gueiph faction, then dominant, fearing that their 
affairs would grow worfe, alfembled their army, 
and called a diet of the cities their confederates. 
The ambaffadors therefore of Placentia, Reggio, 
Parma, Modena, Brefcia, Bologna, and Ferrara, 
affembled at Cremona ; and the marquis of Efle 
came in perfon. Florence, and the other cities of 
Tufcany, offered to lend their aid : the fame offer 
was made by John Appiano, procurator of Ro- 
maga. They fent alfo a noble embaffy to the 
pope, to inform him of the fttuation of affairs in 
Lombardy, and in how much danger were the 
cities affectionate to his highnefs. Ottone Vif- 
conte perceiving thefe movements, entered into a 
clofer league with the marquis of Monferrato, and 
collecting as many armed men as they could, 
marched out with the triumphal chariot of Milan, 
and united with Bofiio Dovara. The Cremonefe 
conducted their army, now very powerful by the 
additions of the confederates, partly to Caflellione, 
and partly to Paderno, caftles of Cremona ; and 
while the two armies flood fronting each other, 
they began to treat of peace, which was finally 
concluded, by means of the ambaffadors of Pla- 
centia and Brefcia. The conditions of this peace 
were, that all the cities mould expel each others 
exiles. Ottone Vifconte eafily complied with the 
conditions of this convention, becaufe he had 
already conceived no fmall jealoufy of the marquis 
of Monferrato, and a mod violent hatred againft 
Bofiio Dovara, who, being excluded from this 
confederation and peace, and having too much 


Campo* \yj 

confidence in himfelf, refufed to furrender Soncino 
and Romanengo. The Cremonefe therefore call- 
ed another diet, who fent an army and expelled 
him, not only from thofe two caftles, but from 
Crema. William and Ugoliao Rofli, noble and 
moll powerful citizens of Perma, having contract- 
ed marriage, the firft with Donella Carrara, of the 
fignori of Padoua, and the other with Elena Ca- 
valcabo, of the family of the marquis of Viadana, 
thefe cities had made peace, and were full of re- 
joicings on the union. 

William, marquis of Monferrato, having made 
war upon Ottone Vifconte, archbifhop of Milan, 
the Cremonefe fent fome companies of foldiers to 
his affiftance. At this time the triumphal chariot 
began to be difufed, as very inconvenient in bat- 
tle : they retained only the general ftandard in 
white, with a red crofs, to which Ottone, who 
was the firft to ufe it, added the image of St. 

A peace was concluded, in 1286, between the 
Vifconte, the archbiftiop, and the exiles of Milan. 

The numerous family of Sommi had a con- 
firmation of certain rights, anciently granted to the 
family by the bifhop of Cremona* 

A new confederation was formed, in 1288, be- 
tween Ottone Vifconte, archbilhop of Milan, and 
the cities of Cremona, Pavia, Placentia, Brefcia, 
Genoa, and Afto, againft the marquis of Monfer- 
rato : but the marquis of Monferrato having 
made himfelf fovereign lord of Pavia, a new diet 
was aflfembled at Cremona, and another confedera- 
tion formed. 

Matthew Vifconte, who by Adolphus, king of 
the Romans, had been declared Imperial vicar of 
the city of Milan, called a diet in that city, to 
deliberate on a war againft the Torriani. The am- 

VOL. III. T baffadors 

13$ Cremona. 

bafladors of Cremona were there, and promifed tc* 
fend their forces to the aid of Vifconte : but the 
Torriani made no movement, and Vifconte did 
not long hefitate to break with Cremona and 
Lodi ; for, impatient to enrich his followers, he 
began to difcover an intention to impofe taxes on 
thofe cities. The Torriani too began to com- 
plain, and were fupported by the patriarch of 
Aquileia : the Torriani came to Cremona, and 
began to prepare war againft Matthew Vifconte. 

The Torriani removed from Cremona to Lodi, 
where they met many of their friends, and foon 
received the news that Matthew Vifconte had taken 
Caftellione from the Gremonefe : the Torriani, 
with fome foldiers from Cremona and Lodi, and a 
grofs multitude of Milanefe exiles, their adherents, 
went to meet Vifconte, but were attacked and 
routed by him. 

The ambafladors of Cremona, of the marquis of 
Monferrato, of the marquis d'Efte, of Novara, 
of Cafale, of Bergamo, and of Vercelli, all con- 
gregated at Pavia, and made a league againft 
Matthew Vifconte* The Cremonefe, not long 
afterwards, with the marquis d'Efte, were routed 
by Vifconte. This year, however, a peace was 
concluded between Milan and Cremona, in which 
no mention is made of Vifconte. 

A league was made, in 1 302, between Cremona, 
Placentia, and Pavia, and they chofe for their cap- 
tain-general Alberto Scotto, then lord of Placen- 
tia : thefe having hired a good body of foldiers, 
and united with the Torriani, went under the walls 
of Milan. Matthew Vifconte, feeing that he was 
hated by his fellow-citizens, went out of Milan, 
arid renounced all his authority to Scotto ; and 
while they were treating of peace, the Torriani 
entered Milan, and drove off Matthew and all his 


Camfo. 1 39 

partifans. After having expelled the Vifconti from 
Milan, a new congrefs met at Placentia, of ambaf- 
fadors from Cremona, Milan, Pavia, Lodi, Conio, 
Novara, Vercelli, Tortona, Crema, Cafale, and 
Bergamo, and concluded to hire, at the common 
expence, and* for the common defence, a thoufand 
horfe and a thoufand foot. 

A tumult in Parma, in 1303, was occafioned by 
an attempt of Giberto di Correggio to reftore the 
Parmefan exiles. Giacopo Cavalcabo, lord of 
Viadana, Amato, Perfcio, and Sommo, all noble 
citizens of Cremona, and old friends of Correg- 
gio, tranfported themfelves to Parma, were elected 
arbitrators, and foon decided the controverfy in 
favour of their friend Correggio. This year con- 
troVerfies and enmity arofe between the Cremo- 
nefe, and Alberto Scotto, lord of Placentia. 

There was adietofconfederrate cities, in 1304, 
againft Alberto Scotto. A powerful army was 
collected, and the marquis of Monferrato, and the 
inarquis of Saluzzo, were created captains ; and 
having patted the Po, and taken many caflles 
in the neighbourhood, laid fiege to Placentia : 
but the Cremonians and Lodians, confidering the 
danger they might be expofed to if that noble 
and powerful -city mould fall into the hands of 
the marquis of Monferrato, they began to with- 
draw their troops. They were followed by thofe 
of Pavia, and the others, and the army was dif- 
perfed, and Placentia delivered from the fiege. A 
new league was made againft Scotto, the head of 
which was Vifconte Pallavicino; and the next 
year the Torriani made themfelves mafters of Pla- 

Giacopo Cavalcabo, a moft noble citizen of 
Cremona, and lord of Viadana, a man of ingenui- 
ty, and an elevated fpirit, was created podefta of 

Milan . 



140 Creinona* 

Milan. The Fulgofi, Scotti,and Palaflrelli, no- 
ble families of Placentia, with the alliftance of 
William Cavalcabo and the Cremonians, expelled 
Lando and Vifconte Pallavicino from Placentia. 

Guido della Torre, lord of Milan, made Perfico, 
a noble Cremonian, podefta of that* city. This 
year a controverfy arifmg between the Parmefans 
and Giberto di Correggio, the Roffi, the Lupi, 
and other noble exiles, who had taken refuge in 
Cremona, were fummoned by their countrymen 
to return ; and they inftantly obeyed, and carried 
with them the afliflance of Tignaca Pallavicino, 
who at that time was podefta of Cremona, and 
the Cremonian foldiers, and having driven Cor- 
reggio from Parma, Giacobo Cavalcabo was cre- 
ated podefta of that city. A confederation was 
alfo made between Guido della Torra and the 
city of Cremona, to which Lodi, Bergama, Pla- 
centia, and Crema, acceded. 

Guiliano Sommo, a noble Cremonian, was made 
podefta, and captain of the commons and people 
of Placentia, for fix months, according to the c uf- 
tom of thofe times. 

Henry the Seventh, the emperor, came, at the 
end of 1 3 1 o, into Italy to be crowned, and he called 
together all the Ghibellines of Lombardy, among 
whom Matthew Vifconte held the firft place. At 
that time the authority and influence of William 
Cavalcabo, brother of Giacopo, was fo great in 
Cremona, that all public affairs were adminiftered 
according to his will ; but as thefe brothers were 
the heads of the Guelph faction, they were little 
friendly to the emperor. 

Cremona* in 1311, tafted more than ever the 
bitter fruits of faclion, civil difcord, and unba- 
lanced government, with which however, it had 
been vexed and diftrefled for many years : it was 


Campo. 141 

now, befides infinite profcriptions of property and 
Daughter of citizens, upon the brink of total ruin 
from Henry. Fachetto, marquis of CanoiTa, had 
been fent with the title of Imperial vicar, but had 
been refufed and expelled by the Guelphs, who 
then had the dominion in Cremona : the em- 
peror's indignation was excited, and he gave orders 
to Matthew Vifconte to pafs the Adda, and aflault 
Cremona with an army of Ghibellines, who col- 
lecting together from every quarter, were increaf- 
ed to a great number. The emperor himfelf, 
with the emprefs his confort, departing from 
Milan, removed to Lodi. Gulielmo Cavalcabo, 
to whom had been given by the Guelphs the 
abfolute dominion of Cremona, perceiving fuch 
formidable preparations for war, knowing his own 
city to be nearly divided into equal parties, and 
having little confidence in his own faction, quitted 
the city, and went to Viadana, followed by the 
',Picenardi, Sommi, and Perfichi, with many others, 
nobles and populars, his adherents : and the city 
would have been wholly evacuated and abandoned, 
if the citizens had not been diffuaded by Sopra- 
monte Amato, who went into the middle of the 
multitude, exhorted them to (lay, and throw 
themfelves on the mercy of the emperor, whom he 
painted as pious and clement, and offered himfelf 
as one of the principal intercefibrs. The people 
being comforted by his fpeech, it was ordered, 
that two hundred of the principal men Ihould go 
to meet Henry, who, hearing of the flight of Ca- 
valcabo and his adherents, removed towards Cre- 
mona, and was already arrived at Paderno, eight 
miles diftant from that city ; there he was found 
by the Cremonians, who had been fent with 
Sopramonte Amato, who, in miferable habits, with 
their heads uncovered, with naked feet, and cords 



about theirnecks, when they came before theempe- 
ror, fell upon their knees, and cried out, "Mercy!" 
(mifericordia !) and, with tears and lamentations, 
endeavoured to recommend themfelves and their 
country to the clemency of the conquerer. Such 
a fpeclacle of mifery might have moved to com- 
panion the heart of cruelty itfelf : it had not, 
however, the force to move in the fmalleft degree 
to mercy the mod inhuman foul of Henry, who, 
with a cruelty more than barbarous, rolling his 
eyes another way, that he might not fee them, 
commanded, with a voice of ferocity, that they 
fhould be all fent to prifon ; which was inftantly 
executed by his minifters, and they were foon 
after put to death. Henry entered Cremona, 
aflembled the council, and ordered that the walls 
of the city mould be thrown down. This order 
was executed : and Henry defired to have the 
houfes demolifhed ; but at the prayer of fome 
of his lords and barons, he was diverted from this 
malicious purpofe ; but they could not hinder 
many from being burned by Cremonian citizens, 
who had been exiles for being of the Ghibelline 
faction, and who fought every cruel method of 
revenge for the injuries they had received. The 
city was therefore filled with mifery ; the Te- 
defques and Italians all robbed alike ; and nothing 
was heard but violence, murder, rapine, and ex- 
tortion. The mod rich were fure to be declared 
guilty, and their eftates to be confifcated. The 
emperor at lad came to the public palace, and 
caufed to be publimed a mod fevere fentence, in 
which he condemned the Cremonians to pay an 
hundred thoufand golden florins, confifcated the 
public revenue, and ordered that the walls and 
bulwarks of the city fbould be ruined, and the 
ditches filled up. Thefe hard conditions were 


Campo. 1 43 

accepted, and the obfervations of them fworn to by 
Frederick Artezaga, fyndick of the commons of 
Cremona, in whom was left the government of 
the faction of Ghibellines, favoured and exalted 
by the emperor, who now left one of his vicars, 
and departed. The Guelphs, thus ill treated, 
now concerted another confederation, and called 
in to their aid Robert, king of Puglia : into this 
league entered all the cities of Romagna and 
Tufcany. The principal were Florence, Lucca, and 
Siena ; and of thofe Lombardy, Bologna, Reg- 
gio, and Parma, whofe fovereign Lord was Giberto 
di Corregio. The Torriani, and the Cavalcabos, 
with the reft of the Milanefe and Cremonian ex- 
iles, joined the confederacy ; and all thefe uaited, 
after having made themfelves mafters of the bridge 
of Dofiblo over the Po, took alfo Cafalmaggiore, 
driving out the Ghibellines* 

William Cavalcabo, having learned that John 
i-Caftiglione, podefta of Cremona, in the name of 
the emperor, was gone with the militia to Pozzo- 
boronzo, a place fubject to the Cremonians, in 
which were fome Guelphs, taking advantage of this 
opportunity, flies with admirable rapidity to Cre- 
mona, and entering the city by the gate della 
Mofa, arrived without oppofition to the Piazza, 
where he was encountered by Galeazzo Vifconte, 
and Manfredino Pallavicino ; but thefe not being 
able to fuflain the impetuofity of the foldiers of 
Cavalcabo, not without a great (laughter of Ghi- 
bellines, among whom was flain Giacomo Rede- 
nafco, they refigned themfelves to flight, and Ga- 
leazzo faved himfeif in Crema. Soon afterwards, 
as an infurre&ion was expe&ed in Cremona, Gi- 
berto di Reggio went thither from Parma, where 
he was received with tokens of the greatelt joy j 
and having quieted with great prudence the con- 




troverfies, he eftablifhed Cavalcabo in the lordfhip 
of the city, making Quirico Sanvitale, his fon-in- 
law, podefta. The inhabitants of Soncino having 
alfo expelled the Imperial governor, furrendered to 
Cavalcabo, who fearing that the enemy would 
encamp at that poft, went thither fuddenly with 
Venturino Benzone,head of the Guelphs of Crema, 
and with Venturino Fondulo, one of the principal 
men of Sqncino. The Barbufi, and other families 
of Soncino, of the oppofite faction, having con- 
veyed intelligence of this to the emperor, he gave 
Soncino to the count Guarnero, his general in 
Lombardy, who went and laid liege to the place. 
There were in Soncino, befides trie Terrazzani, 
the Guelphs of Cremona, Crema, and Bergamo ; 
and with the count Guarnero, befides the Tedefque 
troops, were the Ghibellines of Cremona, Berga- 
mo, and Crema. The inhabitants of Soncino de- 
fended themfelves on the firft aflault with great 
activity, encouraged by the valour of Cavalcabo,. 
Benzone, and Fondulo ; but feized with a panic, 
upon fome advantage gained by Galeazzo Vif- 
conte, the foldiers, who came to their afliftance 
from Cremona, abandoned fhamefully their de- 
fence, and retreated into the houfes. Cavalcabo, 
feeing fuch cowardice or treachery, confulted with 
Benzone to get out of that place as foon as pof- 
fible : collecting their foldiers in a compact body, 
they rufhed into the midft of the enemy, combat- 
ing with wonderful intrepidity ; but Cavalcabo 
being killed, and Benzone, and Venturino Fon- 
dulo, with his two fons, made prifoners, the Ghi- 
bellines remained victorious. Benzone, falling 
into the hands of the Ghibellines of Crema, was 
miferably alfaflinated ; and Fondolo, with his two 
fons, by the orders of Guarnero, were hanged 
before the gate of Soncino. The news of this 


Carnpo. 145 

defeat filled Cremona with terror and confufion : 
but Giberto Correggio, with a* company of Par- 
mefans, coming in, their fears fubfided, and the 
enemy having intelligence of this fuccour, had not 
the courage to approach the walls. The Cremo- 
nians, to recompenfe the benefit received from 
Corregio, gave him the dominion of the city 
for five years. The Guelphs took*Caftellione, in 
which was Manfredino P^llavicino, who was made 
prifoner : and Caftemovo, the mouth of the Adda i 
to the Guelphs, was taken by the Ghibellines. 

Paflarino della Torre had the government off 
Cremona in 1313, with the title of vicar of Ro- 
bert, ^ing of Puglia. 

Giacopo Cavalcabo, marquis of Viadana, was, in 
J 3 f 5> by the common confent of the people, 
elected to the dominion of Cremona. Ponzino de 
Ponzoni, his brother-in-law, whether from private 
envy or republican jealoufy, was enraged beyond 
all meafure at this, and he ftirred up infurre&ions 
againft Cavalcabo, many other noble families, 
the Ponzoni, the Guazoni, the Amati, and the 
Picenardi, who went out of Cremona, and made a 
league with the Vifconte, and occafioned much 
mifchief and ruin to their country, againft which 
they took up arms. 

Ponzino Ponzone, and all his adherents, having 
made a league with Cane della Scalla, lord of 
Verona, and with Paflarino Buona Com*, lord of 
Mantoua, came to Cremona, and laid fiege to it ; 
but by the valour of thofe within were repulfed ; 
yet they 'did much damage in the territory. A 
peace, or the appearance of a peace, between thofe 
in the city and the exiles, was then made 5 and*by 
common confent was deputed to the government 
of the city Egidiolo Pipeiano, with the title of 

VOL. III. U abbate 



abbate of the people : and then the Ponzoni, with 
their partifans, returned to the city. 

The whole city, in 1317, arofe in arms, excited 
by Giacopo and Luigi Cavalcabo, and Gregorio 
Sommo, and others their partifans of the Guelph 
faftion, with whom were the Brufati, lords of 
Brefcia, with all their followers : thefe, entering 
the great piazza of Cremona, aflaflinated Egidiolo 
Piperano, who had mounted the roftrum to ftill 
'the tumult. Leonard and Baccanino Picenardi, 
though one of them was a brother-in-law of Louis 
Cavalcabo, were both aflafTinated ; the Pedecani, 
. Malombra, Alemanni, and others innumerable, 
both of the noble and popular families .of the 
Ghibelline faction, were murdered ; and the whole 
faction was in fact driven out of the city, Ponzone 
taking his flight with fome others of the princi- 
pal citizens whotield with him. He was received 
into Soncino by Philip Barbuo, and foon obtained 
Cafteliione, and all the Guelphs were chafed out 
of both thefe places. Ponzone, who had firft 
holden with the Guelph party, now conjured up 
another faction, by the name of the Maltraverfi, 
of whom he was the head (for every faction has 
its podefta, little council, and great council, its 
king, lords, and commons), and in a fhort time 
made himfelf matter of almofl all the Cremonefe 
territories in the country. Finally, the Ghibel- 
lines and Maltraverfi made a coalition, andconfti- 
tuting Ponzino their head, entered into clofe alli- 
ance with Cane della Scala, lord of Verona, and 
Pafiarino Buonacoffi, lord of Mantoua, and with 
Matthew Vifconte, vicar-genera-1 of Milan : there 
came, therefore, to the afli (lance of the Ghibel- 
lines and Maltraverfi, againfl the Guelphs, in 
Cremona, Cane and Paflarino, with their people, 
and Matthew fent them Luchino, his fon, with the 


Campo. 1 47 

Milanefe cavalry and infantry, with whom were 
fome companies of Pavians, Placentians, Panne- 
fans, Bergamans, and others from Coma, Novara, 
Vercella, Crema, and Montferrato. All thefe peo- 
ple uniting together, encamped againft Cremona. 
The fiege -continued twenty-eight days, without 
any event of confequence, excepting their depre- 
dations upon the territory in the country, and 
deftruction of all the eftates of, the Guelphs. 

Ponzone, having made a breach in the wall, 
entered- the city with his Ghibellines and Makra- 
verfi, and reached the piazza without being difco- 
vered." The Guelphs when they faw him were 
aftonifhed and fled, and with them Giacopo Ca- 
valcabo and Gregorio Sommo. Ponzone was 
proclaimed lord of Cremona by the Ghibellines 
and Maltraverfi. At the fame time the partifans 
of Cavalcabo took Robecpo, and went to Olme- 
neta, eight miles from Cremona, and ruined cer- 
tain towers of the Zucchelli, in which was Nicolo 
Borgo, with fome others of the faction of Pon- 
zone, who, upon hearing of the destruction of his 
friends, went with a body of foldiers to thofe 
places, and made much havoc among the people 
of Cavalcabo. 

Giberto Correggio, captain-general of the 
Guelph league, with Cavalcabo, and all thofe of 
their faction, broke down the walls of the city in 
1319, entered, and by force of arms drove out 
the Ghibellines, and Ponzino Ponzone with his 
league of Maltraverfi Guelphs. 

This Ponzone appears to have joined any fide, 
as his circumftances gave him opportunity ; for in 
1319 he made a coalition with Galeazzo Vifconte, 
fon^of Matthew, and lord of Placentia, wjth the 
Ghibelline faction entered by force of arms into 
Cremona,and chafed away the Cavalcabos,with all 

* the 



the real Guelphs their partifans. There was 
afterwards publiftied a proclamation in the name 
of Galeazzo, that it mould be lawful for all, of 
whatever faction, to inhabit the cfity of Cremona, 
excepting the Cavalcabos, and certain other citi- 
zens, fufpe&ed of having concerted a plot againft 
Galeazzo and his partifans. 

Alberto Scotto, of Placentia, head of the 
Guelphs, was killed, amidft three hundred Ghibel- 
lines, in taking the caftle of Malamorte. Rai- 
niondo Cordona was fent by v the pope, John XXII. 
with a powerful army, td the affiftance of the 
Guelphs, who aflembling all of his fadion in 
Lombardy, went againft Galeazzo Vifconte, and 
fhutting him up in Milan, laid fiege to it. 

Louis the Fourth, of Bavaria, fet up an anti- 
pope againft John. 

Louis confirmed to the Cremonians all the 
privileges granted to them by his predecefibrs. 

Guido de Camilla, Imperial vicar, had the 
government of the city, and a truce was eftablifhed 
between the community of Cremona and Gregory 
de Sommi, by which it appears, that Cremona 
was not at that time fubjeded to the Vifconte. 
The city was governed by Ghibellines, who were 
the majority or predominant party, and Gregory 
Sommo was one of the principal heads ^f the 
Guelph party. 

Azzo Vifconte, fon of Galeazzo, having made a 
peace with the Cremonians, gave them the domi- 
nion of Crema, which after the death of pope 
John, had fubjecled itfelf to the Vi-fconti. This 
year according to fome hiftorians, the lordfhip of 
Cremona was given by its inhabitants to the fame 
Azzo Vifconte. 

Azzo Vifconte, lord of Cremona, died without 
<ons ? and to him fucceeded in the dominion of 


Campo. 149 

Milan and of Cremona, Luchmo Vifconte, and 
John his brother, who, from bifhop of Novara, 
was a little afterwards made archbifhop of Milan, 
fo that he became in that city lord both in fpi- 
ritual and temporal affairs. Cremona enjoyed a 
{late of tranquillity under the joint lordfhip of 
Luchino, and John the archbifhop. 

Luchino Vifconte died in 1338, and for his rare 
and excellent qualities very much regretted by the 
people his fubjeds : he left no fon, and therefore 
the archbifhop obtained the fole.Jordfhip of Milan 
and Cremona, and of many other cities acquired 
by the virtue of Luchino. John and Luchino had 
obtained from Benedict the Twelfth, pope, the 
title of vijars of the holy apoflolical fee. 

Bernabo and Galeazzo, brothers of the Vifconti, 
nephews of John, the archbifhop and lord of Milan 
and Cremona, both married ; the firft to Regina 
della Scala, daughter of the lord of Verona and 
Vicenza ; v and Galeazzo married a filler of the 
duke of Savoy, named Bianca. 

John Vifconte, archbifhop and lord of Milan, 
after having greatly amplified his dominions, died 
in 1354, leaving as his heirs Matthew, Bernabo, 
and Galeazzo, fons of Stephen his brother. *The 
extent of abfolute dominion, already acquired by 
this family over the ruins of fo many common- 
wealths, ruined by their unbalanced factions, ap- 
pears by the divifion made upon this occafion : 
To Matthew were affigned Placentia, Lodi, Bo- 
logna, Mafia, Lugo, Bobio, Pontremelo, and 
Borgo San Donino ; to Galeazzo, the cities of 
Coma, Novaro, Vercelli, Afli, Alba, Aleflandria, 
Tortona, Caftelnuovo di Scrivia, Baflignana, Vige- 
vano, St. Angelo, Montebuono, and Mairano ; 
to Barnabo were given Cremona, Bergamo, 
Brefcia, Crema, Valeamonica, Lonato, with all 
the river dal Lago di Garda, and other places. 


1 50 Cremona. 

The lordfhip of Milan and Genoa remained to 
them all united. 

The emperor, Charles the Fourth, came into 
Italy to receive the Imperial crown, and was 
crowned with the crown of iron at*Milan, by Ro- 
bert Vifconte, archbifhop of that city, and he 
there created knights, John Caleazzo, a boy of 
two years old, who was afterwards the firfl duke 
of Milan ; and Marco, who was not two months 
old, both fons of Galeazzo Vifconte : the empe- 
ror gave alfo the title of Imperial vicars in Italy 
to thethreebrothers, Galeazzo, Matthew, and Ber- 
nabo.' The dominion of Cremona remained alone 
in Bernabo. 

Bernabo married Verde, his daughter, to Lupol- 
do, brother of the archduke of Auftria* and the 
wedding was celebrated in Milan, before a con- 
grefs of ambafladors from Cremona, and all the 
ocher cities fubject to him ; and he gave his 
daughter a dower of an hundred thoufand florins, 

Violante, daughter of Galeazzo, was married to 
a fon of the king of England, with another dower 
of an hundred thoufand florins, and an annual 
penfion of twenty-four thoufand more, affigned 
upon fonae city of Piedmont. 

Ifabella, the firft wife of John Galeazzo, conte 
di Virtu, the firft-born fon of Galeazzo Vifconte 
before mentioned, died, and left an only daughter, 
called Valentina. At this time Bernabo gave 
great figns of an inhuman and cruel nature. 

La Verde, daughter of Galeazzo, was married 
to a fon of the marquis of Monferrato, who was 
aflafTmated by his fubje&s. She was then married 
by her father, with a difpenfation from the pope, 
to a fon of Barnabo. 

Galeazzo died, and left two fons, John Gale- 
azzo conte di Virtu, and Azzo. John Galeazzo, 


Campti. 151 

who was the eldeft, fucceeded his father in the 
dominion of the (late. 

Catharine Vifconte, daughter of Bernabo, was 
by her father married to John Galeazzo, conte di 
Virtu, her coufin, with a difpenfation from the 

Azzo died, brother of John Galeazzo, to whom 
alone remained the government of their paternal 

Cremona gave itfelf voluntarily to John Ga- 
leazzo Vifconte, conte di Virtu, under whofe do- 
minion came all the other cities and places fub- 
jec"t to Bernabo, his uncle and father-in-law, Ber- 
nabo having been made a prifoner, with Lodovico 
and Rodolfo his fons, by the fame John Galeazzo, 
who having learned from his wife, the daughter 
of Bernabo, that her father had feveral times at- 
tempted to put him to death in order to rule 
alone, refolved to relieve himfelf from anxiety and 
fufpicion. To this end he went to Pavia, and 
affected a retired life, and pretended to go a pil- 
grimage to St. Mary del Monte. Bernabo, with 
his two fons, went to meet him, and were all three 
taken by the foldiers of John Galeazzo, and con- 
fined in the caftle of Trezzo, where they all died 
of poifon, as it is fuppofed, fent them by his ne- 
phew and fon-in-law. John* Galeazzo was *m- 
mediately accepted by the Milanefe as their lord ; 
and the Cremonians fpontaneoufly gave them- 
felves up to Giacopo Virino, the captain and 
counfellor of the fame John Galeazzo, and foon 
after, fent fixteen ambafladors to Milan with a 
capitulation, which was accepted and confirmed' 
by him, article by article, with fome limitations. 
The firft article was, that the city of Cremona 
gave itfelf voluntarily and by a common concord 
of all the people. 

152 Cremona. 

Bianca, mother of John Galeazzo, died, and Va- 
lentina his daughter, by Ifabella his firft wife, 
f was married to Louis duke of Orleans, brother of 
Charles the Sixth king of France ; and this year 
was born Gio. Maria, fon of John Galeazzo by 
Catherine his confort. 

Philippo Maria, fecond fon of John Galeazzo, 
was born in Milan, in 1392. 

John* Galeazzo, conte di Virtu, obtained the 
title of duke of Milan, of Vencilaus the emperor. 
He received all the enfigns of the ducal dignity, 
and that with admirable pomp before a congrefs 
of the ambafladors from all the cities iubject to 
him, among whom were thofe from Cremona, 
thofe from Venice, Florence, the marquis di Fer- 
rato, the lords of Forli and Urbino, and the fons 
of the lords of Padoua, with a multitude of others. 
He gave to the emperor an hundred thoufand 
ducats for the ducal dignity. 

In 1399 the duke* obtained the dominion of 
thp city of Pifa ; in 1400 that of Perugia j and 
in 1402 Bologna.. 

Factions arofe again in this province, out of 
which were engendered feditions, civil difcordsj 
and rebellions, by which Gio. Maria, fecond duke 
of Milan, loft fo ample a dominion as was left him 
by jjis father. Seditions arofe in Milan, in which 
they chafed away the ducal lieutenant ; which 
being underftood by the other cities, they all arofe, 
driving off the ducal officers. John Caftiglione, 
a Milanefe, was' then in Cremona, with the title 
@f ducal vicar, but he was now expelled by the 
fury of the people : and at the fame time Jofrn 
Ponzone, and Ugolino Cavalcabo, marquis of Via- 
dana, mod noble and powerful citizens, and heads 
of the factions of Guelphs and Maltraverfi, drove 
the Ghibellines from the city and made them- 


Campd. 153 

felves matters of it. Their followed at this 
time innumerable homicides and burnings of 
houfes, both in the city and country, there not 
being a village in which there were not the two 

But paffing over the horrid detail of particulars, 
we may pafs to the year 1404, when Ugo- 
lino Cayalcabo, having feized the dominion of 
Cremona, conceived fufpicions of fome of the 
principal citizens, and caufed their heads to be 
(truck off, as guilty of plotting againft him, and 
endeavouring to reftore the city to the duke. 
Tyranny and cruelty are always the effecl: of fuch 
a ftate of affairs in all parties ; and the duke 
John Maria grew every day more cruel : he im- 
prifoned his own mother, Catharine Vifconte, in 
the cattle of Monza, and caufed her to be there 
flrangled. Ugolino, coming to battle near Bref- 
cia with Eftore Vifconte, was taken prifoner, 
with Marfilio and Csefar Cavalcabo, and many 
other citizens of their faction. Ugolino was con- 
ducted to Soncino, and then to Milan, where he. 
remained many months in prifon ; and Cabrino 
Fondulo, his captain, faved himfelf in that con- 
flict by flight to Cremona. The captivity of 
Ugolino being known, Charles Cavalcabo, of the- 
fame family, feized the dominion of Cremona. 

Francefco Gafoni, a knight, and heretofore po- 
defta of Cremona for Ugolino Cavalcabo, and 
afterwards* by Charles, his fuccefibr, made captain- 
general in that city, was beheaded, for being fuf- 
pe&ed of holding a correfpondence and concert- 
ing a confpiracy with Eftore Vifconte. A league 
was published this year between Charles Caval- 
cabo, Pandolfo Malatefta, Vignati lord of Lodi, 
and Bartolomeo and Paolo Benzoi, lords of Cre- 
ma ; and Charles took Piadena, whofe fortrefs was 
furrendered to him by William Picenardo. 

VOL. III. X Tie 

.' * W 

154 Cremona. 

The Vifconte cattle was this year fortified by 
Charles Cavalcabo, and Ugolino efcaping from 
priion, went to Mancaftorma to find Cabrino Fon- 
dulo, who came with him to Cremona, to enter 
into the caftle, in which was Charles 7 , who had an 
underftanding with Fondulo : Ugolino was there- 
fore received into the caftle, but his foot was 
fcarcely within the gate before he was made pri- 
foner ; for thefe people were not*much more in- 
clined to furrender their power to their own fami- 
lies than to ftrangers. A little afterwards Fon- 
dulo having fraudulently invited to fupper with 
him, in the caftle of Mancaftorma, Charles and 
Andreafo Cavalcabo, made them both prifoners, 
and cruelly murdered them. He came foon after 
to Cremona with many armed men, entered the 
caftle and the other foruefles, and made himfelf 
mailer of the city, and of all the lands and caftles 
polTefled by Cavalcabo, except Viadana, which 
would jiot fubmit to him. Cabrino, little grateful 
to that family by whom he had been elevated to 
.an honorable rank, defaced all the arms of the 
Cavalcabos which appeared in public places, and 
miferably murdered Ugolino,by whom he had been 
made captain. 

Fondulo, in 1407, caufed to be beheaded two 
fons of Picenardo, in the piazza of Cremona, and 
caft cruelly from the ruins of a tower two of the 
family of Barbuo. This year Pandolfo, the foil 
of Fondulo, was born. A truce macte between the 
duke of Milan, and Cabrino Fondulo, lord of Cre- 
mona, was renewed for four months. 

John Maria, duke of Milan, married, in the 
city of Brefcia, Antonia Malatefta, daughter of 
Malatefta, lord of Rimini. Cabrino Fondulo 
caufed to be burned John de Sefto, for having 
made falfe money ; and buried alive John Lante- 
ro, for having ilandered Cabrino j and hanged Lo- 

Campo. *55 

renzo, Guazzone, and beheaded Rubertino of the 
fame family, for having been feen on the land of 
Gazzo, which had rebelled againft him. 

Another fon was born to Cabrino Fondulo, lord 
of Cremona. He had taken Gazzo, which had 
rebelled againft him, and deftroyed it : and was 
this year made a knight in the city of Milan, by 
Bucicaldo Francefe, governor of Genoa for the 
king of France. 

John da Terfo, lord of Soncjno, was taken and 
aflfaffinated by the people of Cabrino near Brefcia ; 
and Cabrino obtained from the inahabifants of 
Soncino the land and fort. 

John Maria Vifconte, duke of Milan, while he 
was at mafs, was murdered by l*rivulcio, Guer- 
rino, and Baruchino, and other confpirators of 
feveral confpicuous families, and Eftore Vifconte, 
fon of Barnabo, maternal grandfather of John 
Maria, was proclaimed by the confpiritors lord of 
.Milan ; but thefe were driven out by Philip 
Maria, lord of Pavia, brother of the deceafed 
duke, who entered Milan with the forces of Fa- 
cino Cane, and Eftore being fled to ^lonza, was 
purfued by Philip, befieged, fought, and flain : 
whereupon Philip Maria was proclaimed duke of 
Milan, and married Beatrice, formerly wife of 
Facino Cane, and availed himfelf of her dower, 
and of the foldiers of her late hufband, to recover 
the ftate from the hands of the tyrants who, from 
the death of his father, had poflefled it. At 
ttie end of this year a truce was made between 
the duke Philip Maria and Cabrino Fondulo. 

A confederation was made between Fondulo, 
Malatefta, the marquis of Ferrara, and Philip 
Arcelli, lord of Placentia, on one part, and Philip 
Maria, duke of Milan, and his adherents, on the 
other. The friends of the duke were Vignati 
lord of Lqdij Rufca lord of Como, Benzone lord 


156 Cremona. 

of Crema and Orlando marquis Pallavicino. 
This convention lafted not long, though it was 
made for two years. 

The duke Philip Maria, having broken the 
truce and confederation, fent his forces, under 
Carmagnuola, his captain general, to commit de- 
predations on the Cremonians. Going afterwards 
to Placentia with part of his people, he was met 
by Cabrino, lord of Cremona, with a few infantry 
of Malatefta, and defeated. 

! Philip Maria, duke of Milan, caufed to be be- 
headed' Beatrice his wife, for no other reafon but 
becaufe (he was grown old and he was weary of 
her, although he propagated againft her fufpicions 
of adultery. 

The count Carmagnuola returned to the Cre- 
monian territory with the ducal army, took Caftel- 
lione and all the other caftles, deftroyed the vines 
and corn, and laid feige to the city. Cabrino 
Fondulo, feeing that he could not refift the forces, 
of the duke, endeavoured to fell the city of Cre- 
mona to Pandolfo Malatefta : but the duke fent 
Carmagnugla upon the territory of Brefcia, and 
foon had all its fortrefies in his poiTeflion. Ca- 
brino, feeing that the afiiftance of Malatefta would 
fail him, began, by the means of Carmagnuola, 
to treat of an agreement with Philip Maria, who 
knowing the difficulty of taking the city from fo 
powerful and fagacious a man as Fondulo, finally 
agreed with him. 

Cabrino agreed with the duke to furrender Cre- 
mona and all its country, referving only Caftel- 
lione, of which he was inverted in fee, with the 
title of marquis, by the duke, for which he paid 
forty thoufand ducats. 

The duke recovered Genoa, Albenga, Savona, 
and Brefcia. 

Fondulo, defirous of regaining the domination, 


Campo. 157 

made an agreement with the Florentines againil 
the duke. 

The duke condemned to death Cabrino Fon- 
dulo, and beheaded him. 

The reft of this hiftory you will eonfult at your 
leifure. It was at this time, and had been long, 
an abfolute monarchy. While it was a repub- 
lic it was a continual ftruggle between the fami- 
lies of Pallavicini and Dovara, Cavalcabo and 
Vifconte, Ponzoni and Cavalcabo, Vifconte and 
Fondulo. The family of Vifconti acquired in 
Lombardy a fovereignty like that of the Medici 
in Tufcany, and by the fame means : and both 
becaufe there was no balance in the governments, 
and becaufe the executive power and judiciary 
power were ele&ed in the legiflative aflembly ; 
that is precifely, becaufe all authority was attempt- 
ed to be placed in the fame centre. Is it worth 
while, merely for the whittling of the name of a 
republic, to undergp all the miferies and horrors, 
cruelties, tyrannies, and crimes, which are the na- 
tural and inevitable fruits of fuch a conftitution ?. 


P A D O U A* 

Dear Sir, 

THE elements and definitions in mod of the 
arts and fciences are underftood alike, by 
men of education, in all the nations of Europe; 
but in the fcience of legiflation, which is not of 
the leaft importance to be underftood, there is 
a confufion of languages, as if men were but 


1 58 Padoua. 

lately come from Babel. Scarcely any two writ- 
ers, much lefs nations, agree in ufing words in the 
fame fenfe. Such a latitude, it is true, allows a 
fcope for politicians to fpeculate, like merchants 
with falfe weights, artificial credit, or bafe money, 
and to deceive the people, by making the fame 
word adored by one party, and execrated by ano- 
ther. The union of the people,in any principle,rule, 
or fyftem, is thus rendered impoflible ; becaufe 
fuperftition, prejudice, habit, and paflions, are fo 
differently attached to words, that you can fcarcely 
make any nation underftand itfelf. The words mo- 
narchy, ariftocracy, democracy, king, prince, lords, 
commons, nobles, patricians, plebeians, if care- 
fully attended to, will be found to be ufed in dif- 
ferent fenfes, perpetually by different nations, by 
different writers in the fame nation, and even by 
the fame writers in different pages. The word 
king for example : Afk a Frenchmen what is a 
king, his anfwer will be, A man with a crown and 
fceptre, throne and footftool, anointed at Rheims, 
who has the making, executing, and interpreting 
of all laws. Afk an Englimman ; his idea will 
comprehend the throne, footftool, crown, fceptre, 
and anointing, with one third of the legiflative 
power and thewhole of the executive, with an 
eftate in his office to him and his heirs. A(k a 
Pole ; and he tells you, It is a magidrate cbofen 
for life, with fcarcely any power at all. Afk an 
inhabitant of Liege, and he tells you, It is a bifhop, 
and his office ii only for life. The word prince 
is another remarkable initance : In Venice it means- 
the fenate, and fometimes by courtefy, the doge, 
whom fome of the Italian writers call a mere tefta 
di legno : in France, the eldrft Tons of dukes are 
princes, as well as the defcendants of the blood 
royal : in Germany, even the rhingravers are prin- 
ces j and in Ruffia,feveral families^who were not de- 



fcended from nor allied to royal blood, anciently 
obtained, by grant of the fovereign, the title of 
prince, defcendible to all their pofterity ; the con* 
fequence of which has been, that the number of 
princes in that country is at this day prodigious ; 
and the philofppher of Geneva, in imitation of the 
Venetians, profeffedly calls the executive power, 
wherever lodged, The Prince. How is it poffible 
that whole nations mould be made to comprehend 
the principles and rules of government, until they 
{hall learn to underftand one anothers meanings 
by words ? But of all the words, in all languages, 
perhaps there has been none fo much abufed in this 
way as the words republick, commonwealth, and po- 
pular ftate. In the Rerum Publicaf urn Colleclio, of 
which there are fifty and odd volumes, and many 
of them very incorre&,France,Spain and Portugal,* 
the four great empires, the Babylonian, Perfian, 
Greek, and Roman, and even the Ottoman, are all 
denominated republics. If, indeed, a republic 
fignifies nothing but public affairs, it is equally 
applicable to all nations ; and 'every kind of go- 
vernment, defpotifms, "monarchies, ariftocracies, 
democracies, and every poffible or imaginable 
compofition of them, are all republics : there is, 
no doubt, a public good and evil, a common 
wealth 4 and a common impoverimment, in all 
of them. Others define a republic to be a 
government of more than one : this will ex- 
clude only the defpotifms ; for a monarchy ad- 
miniftered by laws, requires at leaft magiftrates 
to regifter them, and confequently more than 
one perfon in the government. Some compre- 
hend under the term only ariftocracies and de- 
mocracies, and mixtures of thefe, without any 
diftinft executive power. Others again, more 
rationally, define a republic to fignify only a go-. 
vernment, in which all men, rich and poor ? magif- 


160 Padoua. 

trates and fubjects, officers and people, mafters 
and fervants, the firft citizen and the laft, are 
equally fubject to the laws. This indeed ap- 
pears to be the true, and only true definition of 
a republic. The word res, every one knows, 
iignified, in the Roman language, wealth, riches, 
property ; the word publicus, quafi populicus, 
and per Sync, poplicus, fignified public, common, 
belonging to the people ; res publica therefore 
was publica res, the wealth, riches, or property 
of the people*. Res populi, and the original 
meaning of the word republic, could be no other 
than a government in which the property of the 
peoplepredominatedand governed: and ithad more 
relation to property than liberty : it fignified a go- 
vernment, in which the property of the public, or 
people, and of every one of them, was fecured and 
protected by law. This idea, indeed, implies liberty; 
becaufe property cannot be fecure, unlefs the man 
be at .liberty to acquire, ufe, or part with it, at his 
difcretion, and unlefs he have his perfonal liberty 
of life and limb, motion and reft, for that purpofe : 
it implies, moreover, that fhe property and liberty 
of ail men, not merely of a majority, mould be 
fafe ; for the people, or public, comprehends 
more than a majority, it comprehends all and 
every individual : and the property of every 
citizen is a part of the public property, as each 
citizen is apart of the public, people, or commu- 
nity. The property, therefore, of every man has 
a mare in government, and is more powerful than 
any citizen, or party of citizens ; it is governed 
only by the law. There is, however, a peculiar 
fenfe in which the words republic, common- 
wealth, popular (late, are ufed by Englifh and 

* See any cf the common di&ionarks, Soranus, Stephens, 


PortenarL 1 6 1 

French writers ; who mean by them a democracy, 
or rather a repreientative democracy : a govern- 
ment in one centre, and that centre the nation ; " 
that is to fay, that centre a fmgle aflembly, chofen* 
at dated periods by the people, and inverted with 
the whole fovereignty ; the whole legiflative, exe- 
cutive, and judicial power, to be exercifed in a 
body, or by committees, as they (hall think pro- 
per. This is the fenfe in which it was ufed by 
Marchament Nedham, and in this fenfe it has 
been condantly ufed from his time to ours, even 
by writers of the mod mathematical precifion, the 
mod claffical purity, and extenfive learning. 
What other authority |here may be for this ufe of 
thofe words is. not known : none ^as been found, 
except in the following obfervations of Portinari, 
in which there arefeveral other inaccuracies ; but 
they are here inferted, chiefly becaufe they employ 
the words republic, commonwealth, and popular 
ftate, in the fame fenfe with the Englifh and 
French writers. 

" We may fay with the philofopher*, that fix 
things are fo neceflary to a city, that without 
them it cannot (land. i. The firft is provifions, 
without which its inhabitants cannot live. 2. 
The fecond is clothes, habitations, houfes, and 
other things which depend upon the arts, without 
which civil and political life cannot fubfid. 3. 
The third is arms, which are neceflary to defend 
the city from its enemies, and to reprefs the bold- 
nefs of thofe who rebel againft the laws. 4. The 
fourth is money, mod neceflary to a city in peace 
and in war. 5. The fifth is the care of divine 

* Delia Felicita di Padova, di Angelo Portenari Pa'dovano 
Augoft. edit, in Padova per Pletro Paolo Tozzi, 1623, p. 

VOL. III. Y wormip. 

1 62 Padoua. 

worihip. 6. The fixth is the adminiftration of 
juftice, and the government of the people. For 
the firfl are neceflary, cultivators of the land ; for 
the fecond, artificers ; for the third, foldiers ; for 
the fourth merchants and capitalifts ; for the 
fifth, priefts ; and for the fixth judges and magif- 
trates. Seven forts of men t therefore, are necef- 
fary to a city, hulbandmen, artificers, foldiers, 
merchants, rich men, priefts, and judges*. But, 
according to the fame philofopher|, as in the 
body natural not all thofe things, without which 
it is never found, are parts of it, but only 
inftruments fubfervient to feme ufes, as in ani- 
mals the^horns, the nails, the hair, fo not all thofe 
feven forts of men are parts*of the city ; but fome 
of them, viz. ftie hufbaridmen, the artificers, and 
the merchants, are only inflruments ufeful to civil 
life, as is thus demonflrated : -A city is con- 
flituted for felicity, as to its ultimate end ; and 
human felicity, here below, is repofed, according 
to the fame philofopher, in the operations of 
virtue, aad chiefly in the exertions of wifdom and 
prudence : thofe men, therefore, are not parts of 
a city, the operations of whom are not directed to 
thofe virtues ; fuch are the hufbandmen, who are 
occupied, not in wifdom and prudence, but in 
labouring the earth ; fuch are the ^rtifans, who 
fatigue themfelves night and day to gain a liveli- 
hood for themfelves and their poor families ; fuch, 
finally, are the merchants, who watch and labour 
continually, not in wifdom and prudence, but in 
theacquifition of gold. It is therefore clear, that 
neither hufhandmen, artificers, nor merchants,, are 
parts of a city, nor ought to 'be numbered among 
the citizens, but only as inftruments which fub- 

v Arift. Polit. lib. vii. c. 8. f Aria. Polit. lib. vii. c. 9. 


Porienari. 163 

ferve to certain ufes and conveniences of the city." 
We muft paufe here and admire ! The foregoing 
are not only the grave fentiments of Portenari and 
of Ariftotle, tout it is the doctrine almoft of the 
whole earth, and of all mankind : not only every 
defpotifm, empire, and monarchy, in Afia, Africa, 
and Europe, but every ariftocratical republic, has 
adopted it in all its latitude. There are only two 
or three of the fmalleft cantons in Switzerland, 
befides England, who allow hufbandrnen, arti- 
ficers, and merchants, to be citizens, or to have 
any voice or fhare in the government of the (late, 
or in the choice or appointment of any who have. 
There is no doctrine, and no fact, which goes fo 
far as this towards forfeiting to the human fpecies 
the character of rational creatures. Is it not 
amazing, that nations fhould have thus tam'ely fur- 
rendered themfelves, like fo many flocks of meep, 
into the hands of fhepherds, whole great folicitude 
to devour the Iambs, the wool, and the flefh, 
fcarcely leave them time to provide water or paf- 
ture for the animals, or even fhelter againft the 
weather and the wolves ! 

It is indeed impoffible that the feveral defcrip- 
tions of men, laft enumerated, fliould, in a great 
nation and extenfive territory,* ever aifemble in a 
body to act in concert ; and the ancient method 
of taking the fenfe of an aflembly of citizens in the 
capital, as in Rome for example, for the fenfe of 
all the citizens of an whole republic, or a large 
empire, was very imperfect, and extremely expof- 
ed to corruption : but, fince the invention of repre- 
fentative aflemblies, much of that objection is re- 
moved, though even that was no fufficient reafon 
for excluding farmers, merchants, and artificers, 
from the rights of citizens. At prefent an huf- 
bantlman, merchant, or artificer, provided he has 


1 64 Padoua. 

any fmall property, by which he may be fuppofed 
to have a judgment and will of his own, indead of 
depending for his daily bread on fome patron or 
mader, is a fufficient judge of the qualifications 
of a perfon to reprefent him in the legiflature. 
A- reprefentative affembly, fairly condituted, and 
made an integral part of the fovereignty, has 
power for ever to controul the rich and illudrious 
in another aflembly, and a court and king where 
there is a king ; this too is the only inftrument 
by which the body of the people can aft; -the 
only way in which their opinions can be known 
and collected ; the only means by which their 
wills can be united, and their drength exerted, 
according to any principle or continued fyftem. 
It is fometimes faid, that mobs are a good mode 
of exprefiing the fenfe, the refentments, and feel- 
ings of the people. Whig mobs to be fure are 
meant ! But if the principle is once admitted, 
liberty and the rights of mankind will infallibly 
be betrayed ; for it is giving liberty to Tories 
and courtiers to excite mobs as well as patriots : 
and all hidory and experience fhews, that mobs 
are more eafily excited by courtiers and princes, 
than by more virtuous men, and more honed 
friends of liberty: It is often faid tbo, that farm- 
ers, merchants, and mechanics, are too inattentive 
to public affairs, and too patient under oppreflion. 
This is undoubtedly true, and will for ever be fo ; 
and, what is worfe, the mod fober, induflrious, 
and peaceable of them, will for ever be the lead 
attentive, and the lead difpofed to exert themfelves 
in hazardous and difagreeable efforts of refidance. 
The only practicable method therefore of giving 
to farmers, &c. the equal right of citizens, and 
their proper weight and influence in fociety, is by 
ekflions, frequently repeated, of an h6ufe of com- 

Portenari. 165 

mons. an aflembly which fhall be an eflential part 
of the fovereignty. The meaneft understanding 
is equal to the duty of faying who is the man in 
his neighborhood whom he moft efteems, and 
loves beft, for his knowledge, integrity, and bene- 
volence. The underftandings, however, of huf- 
bandmen, merchants, and mechanics, are not 
always the meaneft : there arife, in the courfe of 
human life, many among them of the mod fplen- 
did geniufes, the moft adive and benevolent dif- 
pofitions, and moft undaunted bravery. The 
moral equality that Nature has unalterably efta- 
blifhed among men 'give thefe an undoubted 
right to have every road opened to them for ad- 
vancement in life and in power that is open to 
any others. Thefe are the characters which will 
be difcovered in popular election's, and brought 
forward upon the ftage, where they may exert all 
their faculties, and enjoy all the honours, offices, 
and commands, both in peace and war, of which 
they are capable. The dogma of Ariftotle, and 
the practice of the world, is the moft unphilofo- 
phical, the moft inhuman and cruel, that can be 
conceived. Until this wicked pofition, which is 
worfe than the flavery of the ancient republics, or 
modern Weft Indies, ihall be held up to the de- 
rifion and contempt, the execration and horror of 
mankind, it will be to little purpofe to talk or 
write about liberty. This doctrine of Ariftotle is 
the more extraordinary, as it feems to be incon- 
fiftent with his great and common principles*, 
" that an happy life muft arife from a courfe of 
virtue ; that virtue confifts ki a medium ;* and 
that the middle life is the happieft. In every city 

* Ariftot. Pol. lib. iv. c. II. 


1 66 Padoua. 

the people are divided into three forts, the very 
rich, the very poor, and the middle fort. If it is 
admitted that the medium is the beft, it follows 
that, even in point of fortune, a mediocrity is pre- 
ferable. The middle ftate is mod compliant to 
reafon : thofe who are very beautiful, or ftrong, 
or noble, or rich ; or, on the contrary, thofe who 
are very poor, weak, or mean ; with difficulty obey 
reafon. The former are capricious and flagitious ; 
the latter, rafcally and mean ; the crimes of each 
arifmg from their different excefles. Thofe who 
excel in riches, friends, and influence, are not 
willing to fubmit to command or law : this be- 
gins at home, were they are brought up too 
delicately, when boys, to obey their preceptors. 
The conftant want of what the rich enjoy makes 
the poor too mean: the poor know not how to 
command, but are in the habit of being com- 
manded, too often as flaves. The rich know not 
how to fubmit to any command ; nor do they 
know how to rule over freemen, or to command 
others, but defpotically. A city compofed only of 
the rich and the poor, but confifts of maftersand 
flaves, not freemen ; where one party muft defpife, 
and the other hate ; where there is no poflibility 
of friendfhip, or equality, or community, which 
fuppofes affection. It is the genius of a free 
city to be compofed, as much as pofiible, of 
equals ; and equality will be beft preferved when 
the greateft part of the inhabitants are in the 
middle ftate. Thefe will be beft allured of fafety 
as well as equality : they will not covet nor fteal, 
as the poor do, what belongs to the rich ; nor will 
what they have be coveted or fto^en : without 
plotting againft any one, or have any one plot 
againft them, they will live free from danger. 


Porienari. ' 167 

For which reafon Phocilides* wifely wifhes for the 
middle date, as being mod productive of happi- 
nefs. It is plain then that the mod perfect com- 
munity muft be among thofe who are in the mid- 
dle rank ; and thofe dates are beft inftituted 
wherein thefe are a larger and more refpe&able 
part if poflible, than both the other : or, if that 
cannot be, at leaft than either of them feparate : 
fo that, being thrown into the balance, it may pre- 
vent either fcale from preponderating. It is there- 
fore the greateft happinefs which the citizen can 
enjoy, to poflefs a moderate and convenient for- 
tune* When fome poflefs too much, and others 
nothing at all, the government muft either be in 
the hands of the meaneft rabble, or elfe a pure 
oligarchy. The middle flate is bed, as being 
leaft liable to thofe feditions and infurrections 
which difturb the community ; and for the fame 
reafon extenfive governments are leaft liable to 
thefe inconveniences : for there thofe in the mid- 
dle date are very numerous ; whereas, in fmali 
ones, it is eafy to pafs to the two extremes, fo as 
hardly to have atty medium remaining, but the one 
half rich, and the other poor. We ought to con- 
fider, as a proof of this, that the bed lawgivers 
were thofe in the middle rank of life, ainong 
whom was Solon, as is evident from his poems, 
and Lycurgus, for he was not a king, sfrid Cha- 
rondas, and indeed mod others. Hence fo many 
free dates have changed either to democracies or 
oligarchies ; for whenever the number of thofe in 
the middle date has been too fmall, thofe who 
were the more numerous, whether the rich or the 
poor, always overpowered them, and aflumed to 
themfelves the adminidration. When, in confe- 

* After Agur. 

^quence _ 

1 68 Padoua* 

quence of their difputes and quarrels with each 
other, either the rich get the better of the poor, 
or the poor of the rich, neither of them will efta- 
blifh a free ftate, but, as a record of their victory, 
one which inclines to their own principles, and 
form either a democracy or an oligarchy. It is 
indeed an eftabJifhed cuftom of cities not to defire 
an equality, but either to afpire to govern, or, 
when they are conquered, to fubmit," Thefe are 
fome of the wifeft fentiments of Ariftotle ; but. 
can you reconcile them with his other arbitrary 
doctrine, and tyrannical exclufion of hufbandmen, 
merchants, and tradefmen, from the rank and 
rights of citizens ? Thefe, or at lead thofe of 
them who have acquired property ^enough to be 
exempt from daily dependence on others, are the 
real middling people, and generally as honed and 
independent as any : thefe, however, it mud be 
confefied, are too inattentive to public and na- 
tional affairs, and too apt to fubmit to oppreflion j 
when they have been provoked beyond all bearing, 
they have aimed at demolifhing the government, 
and when they have done that, thy have funk into 
their ufual inattention, and left others to erect a 
new one as rude and ill-modelled as the former. 
A reprefentative aflembly, elected by them, is the 
only way in which they can act in concert ; but 
they have always allowed thernfelves to be cheat- 
ed by falfe, imperfect, partial, and inadequate 
reprefentations of themfelves, and have never had 
their full and proper mare of power in a ftate. 
But to proceed with Portenari. " The other kinds 
'of men," fays he, " viz. the'rich, the foldiers, the 
priefts, and the judges, are parts of the city, and 
properly citizens. The firft, becaufe riches are 
inuTumems for generating and conferving virtue 
in the citizens. The fecond, becaufe it is necef- 


Portenari. l6g ( 


fary that military men, befides the virtue of forti- 
tude, mould be adorned with prudence, to know 
the times and occafions proper for undertaking an 
enterprize. The third, becaufe the priefts ought 
to be examples of every virtue to the people, and 
give themfelves to the contemplation of divine 
things. The fourth, becaufe the judges and rec- 
tors of a city, to judge and govern rightly, have 
occafion more than all the others for fcience and 
prudence, which are the true lights and guides of 
human actions/' If thefe are proper arguments 
for admitting thefe defcriptions of men into -the 
order of citizens, inftead of being reafons for ex- 
cluding merchants, &c. they are of proportional 
weight for admitting them. " As to the form of 
government, which is the othfir part of the animat- 
ed city, let us fay with thofe wife men who have 
written of civil dominion and public adminiftra* 
tton, as Plato*, Ariftotlef, Polybius|, Plu- 
tarch, and others||, that the fimple forrgs of 
good government are three, to which are oppofed 
three other forms of bad government. The fir ft 
form of good government is monarchy, or king- 
dom, and is the abfolute and independent domi- 
nion of one man alone$ who has for the ultimate 
end of his operations the public good, and the 
beft ftate of the<city, and who has the fame re- 
lation to his fubjech that the ihepherd has to his 
.flock, and the father to his children. Such were 
the monarchies of the Aflyrians, Medes, Perfians, 
Macedonians, Scythians, Egyptians, and Romans, 
from the beginning of their reign to the c'r cation 

. * 4 & 8 de Leg. & in Civili, feu de Regno. 
f 3 Polit. c. 7, 8. & 8 Eth. c. 10. 
j Lib. vi. De Unius in Repub. Domin. 

|j Sigon. de Ant. Jur. Civ. Rom. lib, i. c. I. 
VOL. III. Z of 


of the confuls, and, after the extinction of the 
Roman republic, under the empire of the Csefars. 
To monarchy is oppofed* that form of govern- 
ment which is called tyranny, in which one alone 
domineers, who has no thoughts of the public 
good, but whofe fcope is to deprefs and extermi- 
nate the citizens, to whom he fhows himfelf a ra- 
pacious monfter after their property, and a cruel 
beaft of prey after their lives ; fuch as were 
Phalaris in Agrigentumf, Dionyfms in Syracufe| r 
and ( Nero in Rome. The fecond form of good 
government is ariltocracy, according to which 
the dominion is held by thofe who, above all 
others^ are adorned with virtue, prudence, and be- 
nevolence ; who directing all their actions to the 
utility and common dignity of the city, procure 
it an happy and blefled ftate. This fpecies of 
government is called alfo, the regimen of the 
better fort (optimates), either becaufe the beft meft 
of the city bear rule,' or becaufe they look, in all 
their operations, to the bed and mofl perfect ftate 
of the city. This manner of government was 
ufed by the Spartans. To this form of govern- 
ment is oppofed oligarchy, which is a principality 
of the rnoft rich and powerful, who, for the mofl 
part, are few ; who, deprefling and robbing of 
their property the lefs rich, anH crufhing with 
intolerable weight the poor, make a regimen full 
of arrogance and of violence, and are like wolves 
among lambs. Such was the dominion of the 
Triumyirs in Rome who having opprefled the 

* Plutar. Loc. Cit. Berof, lib. iv. Piodor. lib. i. 3. 
10. Juftin. lib. i. 2. 3. Orof. lib. i. & feq. Herod, lib. i. 2.* 
Liv. et alii jfcript. Rom. Hift. 

f Val. Max. lib. ix. c. 2. Cic. Verr. 5. 
' t Cic. 2 de Offic. Plat. Epift. vii. Diodor. lib. xiv. 

Suet, in Neron. Tacit. 14 Annal. 



republic, profcribed and put to death many good 
citizens, and plundered their property : exalting 
the feditious and perverfe, and abafing good men, 
they diftempered Rom with their contagious 
wickednefs; and of a city, the capital of the world, 
they made it a den of robbers*. The third form of 
good government, not having a proper name, was 
called by the Greeks politia, and by the Latins, ref- 
publica, a name common to every fpecies of govern- 
ment. This is the dominion of the multitude, viz. of 
the whole body of the city, compofed of all forts of citi- 
zens, rich and poor, nobles and plebeians, wife and 
foolifh, which is alfo called a popular government. All 
this body, which contains men, fome endowed with 
prudence and wifdom, fome inclined to virtue and 
perfuadable to all good works, by the converfa- 
tion and familiarity which they have with the pru- 
dent and learned, employ all their care, labour, 
and induftry, to the end that the city flourim in all 
thofe things which are neceflary and convenient 
for living well and happily, fuch as was at one 
one time the government of the Atheniansf . To 
this fpecies of good government is oppofed de- 
mocracy ; according to which the mod abject ple- 
beians, and the vileft vulgar, hold the^omination 
for their own private intereft, by which they op- 
prefs the rich and the noble, and aggrandize and 
enrich the poor and the ignoble, as the two bro- 
thers, the Gracchi, began to do in Rome|. 

" Three, therefore, are the fimple forms of good 
government, monarchy, ariftocracy, and that 
which by a common name is called* a republic ; 

* Appian. 4 de Bel. Civ. Plut. in Ant. 
f Plut. de Unius in Rep. Dominio. Thucid. lib. ii. in 
Orat. Periclis. Sig. de Repub. Athen. lib. i. c. 5. 
t Appian. i de Bel. Civ. Plutarch in Gracchis. 




from which, mixed together,four others may refult. 
The firft is of the three all compounded, as was that 
of the Lacedemonians, inftituted by Lycurgus*, 
which, feletting the good from the three former ', com- 
pofes one of the moft perfcfl kind. Such alfo was 
the Roman Republicf, in which the power of the 
confuls was like the regal authority ; that of the 
fenate was ariflocratical ; and that of the people 
refembled the popular ftate. The fecond form of 
mixed government is compofed of monarchy and 
ariftocracy, fuch as, according to fome, is 4 the 
moft ferene republic of Venice J, in which the 
annual podeftas have a power fimilar to a regal 
authority, and the fenate are an affembly or collec- 
tion of the op.timates ; although others contend 
that it is a perfect ariftocracy. The third is mix- 
ed of a monarchy and a republic ; and the fourth 
of a republic and an ariftocracy : of which two 
fpecies of mixed government we have no examples 
to alledge. 

" But to return to the three fimple forms ; it is 
the commqn opinion of the learned , that monarchy 
holds the firft rank above all others, refembling 
the power of God Almighty, who alone governs 
the worldly refembling the heart, which alone 
vivifies all the parts of the animal ; and refem- 
bling the fun, which alone illuminates the celeftial 
bodies, as well as the lower world. It is very true, 
that to a monarchy ought to be elevated only 

* Polyb. lib. vi. Sigon. de Ant. Jure Civ. Rom. lib. 
i.e. i. 

f Bellarm. de Roma. 

i Boter. Relat. Venet. p. I. Sabellrc. lib. iii. lee. 2. 

Plat, in Civili vel de Reg? Afift. 8. Ethic, c. 10. & 
3 Polit. c. 10. Philo. lib. de Conf. Linguar. Sencc. 2 de 
Benef. Herod, lib. iii. Horn. 2 Iliad, v. 204. 


Pontenari. 173 

that citizen, according to the philofopher*, wKo; 
exceeding the others in the ordinary courfe, in* 
'riches, wifdom, prudence, anft benevolence, is like 
a god upon earth ; fuch as would be the man who 
fhould be adorned with heroic virtue, according 
to which, performing all the labours of virtue 
in the utmoft perfection- and fupreme excellency, 
he would appear to be not the fon of a mortal f , 
but of God. But it being impoflible, or at leaft 
mod difficult, to find a man fo rare, hence it has 
happened, that laying afide monarchy, the philo- 
fophers have difputed which of the other two 
forms of good government is better accommodat- 
ed, more practicable, and more profitable, for the 
regimen of cities and of peoples. Some were of 
opinion that this praife was due to an ariftocra*cy : 
neverthelefs Ariftotle confutes them, becaufe in 
the ariftocratical government the magiflracies and 
the honours being always in the hands of a few, 
there is great danger that the multitude, perpe- 
tually excluded from public management, mould 
be tumultuous, and confpire againft the lives of 
the principal men, to the great damage of the 
whole city ; becaufe in thefe revolts the force 
and violence of the people regards neither 
friends nor enemies ; it is mad, and moft hor- 
ribly pillages, murders, and abufes,all that comes 
in its way. It remains then, that the third fpecies 
of good government, which is the popular go- 
vernment, in which alternately the citizens com- 
mand and obey, is the moft ufeful, and better ad- 
jufted to the nature of man, in whpfe foul the 
Divinity has (lamped the defire of dominion ; 
with fuch limitations and temperaments, however, 
as, fays the fame philofopher ., that the vile plebeians 

* 3 Polit. c. ii. f 7 Eth.c. i. 


1 74 Padoua. 

may not have magiftrates appointed for their ig- 
norance and imprudence, which are the two 
fountains of all crVil calamities ; but that the 
plebeians may not be totally defpifed, and that all 
occafion of infurrections may be taken away, that 
the faculty be given them of joining with the 
other citizens in the election of magiftrates, and 
in calling them to account for their adminiftra- 
tion." All thefe opinions appear to be not unbe- 
coming; for although the plebeians be not quali- 
fied of themfelves to judge who are fit for the 
adminiftration of the affairs of the city, and to 
know the failings of thofe who have governed, 
neverthelefs, by the converfation and practice 
which they have in fuch things with the wife men, 
it is prefumed that, from daily intercourse with 
thefe, and from common fame and public repu- 
tation, which daily circulates concerning men 
who are wife and good in government, they may 
have fo much light, that they- may difcern the apt 
from the inapt, and good behaviour from bad. 
This may fuffice to have faid concerning the dif- 
ferent forms of government, according to the 
writers before cited, in order to explain the fol- 
lowing account of the form of government in Pa- 
doua, and the various changes it pafled through. 

In the four hundred and fifty-fecond year of 
the Chriflian aera, Padoua was miferably deftroyed 
by Attila, king of the' Huns. 

The Padouans, who then fled for fafety to the 
iilands in the Adriatic, could not for fifty years re- 
turn to rebuild their city, for the many armies of 
barbarians who infefled Italy till 493, when Theo- 
doric, king o the Oftrogoths, killed Odoacer, 
king of the Heruli, and remained unrivalled in the 
dominion of Italy. But Juflinian, the emperor, 



having, in 535? fent Belifarius, and afterwards, in 
552, Narfitte, to drive away the Goths from 
Italy, Padoua, in that war, which, with alternate 
vi&ories and defeats of the Goths and the Greeks, 
lafted eighteen years, was fometimes by one and 
fometimes by the other fubje&ed. Afterwards, 
under the government of exarchs, till 60 1, it 
was a fecond time burned and deftroyed by Agi- 
nulphus, king of the Longobards. It was after- 
wards reflpred by the Padouans, aflifted by the 
Venetians, and remained under the dominion of the 
* Longobards, till they were exterminated by Char- 
lemain, king of France, in 774. It continued 
fubjeft to the kings of. France of the race of Char- 
lemain, and after them to the Berengarii, and 
finally to the emperors of Germany, from Otto the 
Firft to Henry the Fourth, according to the 
German, and the Third according to the Italian 
hiftorians. In a word, Padoua lived under foreign 
laws fix hundred and twenty-nine years, viz. from 
452 to 10815 thirty-three years before which 
period, viz. in 1048, began to dawn a few rays of 
liberty, fmce the emperor, Henry the Third, as 
appears by public inftrumerits preferved in the 
archives of the cathedral of Padoua, granted, for 
the repofe of his foul, and that of Agnefe his wife, 
to Bernard Maltraverfe,bifhop of Padoua, the pre- 
rogative of coining money, building fortrefles and 
caftles with towers and ramparts, erecting mills, 
and, to be as it were prince of the city. After- 
wards Henry the Fourth, his fon, at the folicita- 
tion of the queen Bertha, his wife, and for the 
prayers of Milo, bifhop of Padoua, his relation, in 
jo8i, gave liberty to the Padouans, with this 
coriceflion, that for the future they Nmight live 
according to their owp laws, and have a trium- 

176 Padoua* 

phal chariot (carroccio), which was the principal 
fign of a free city*. 

This carroccio, for a perpetual memorial of 
the benefit received by the inter ceffi on of queen 
Bertha, was by the Padouans called by her name. 
Henry alfo granted them the faculty of making of 
the body of their nobility a fenate, who, for the 
government of tfie city, created annually two con- 
fulsf .. There was therefore formed a govern- 
ment mixed of monarchy and ariflocracy, fays 
the hiftorian ; of monarchy, becaufe the confuls, 
according to the manner of kings, had the 
power of life and death ; and of ariftocracy, 
becaufe the fenate, exclufively of the plebeians, 
was compofed only of patricians or nobles. 
Thefe, as the defire of enlarging dominion is 
infatiable, not contented to have the government 
of the city, procured, partly by imperial grants, 
and partly by other means, to have jurifdidion of 
blood in their caftles fituated in the country of 
Padoua, afiuming the titles of proceri, peers or 
barons, and a little afterwards of marquifles, 
counts, and caftellans. Padoua was ruled by this 
form of government about eighty years, in peace 
and tranquillity : but peace being the nurfe of 
riches, and riches of ambition, the confular dig- 
nity began to be ardently defired by all men, and 
caballed for by every artifice. In the progrefs of 
thefe contefts, as one would not give way to 
another, and the whole depending on a few of 
the mod powerful, the city became divided 'into 
factions, which finally, in 1177, cam e to arms, 
and civil wars enfued, which for fome years filled 

* See a defeription and {lamp of the Padouan carroccio, in 
Portenari, lib. v. c. 5 and 6. 

( Sigonius, de Reg. ItaL lib. ix, an. 1081. 


Porteyiari. 177 

the city with mutual flaughter, burnings, revolt, 
and conftifion ; fo that the confulate becoming 
feeble, was now intermitted, and then exerciied, 
according as me power of different parties pre- 
vailed. But, finally, this magiftracy ferving no 
longer for the maintenance of the public good, 
but merely as an inftrument of revenge againfl 
enemies, and having become mod pernicious, not 
only to the plebeians, but to the patricians, it was, 
in 1 194, abrogated and totally extinguifhed. 

The good government, compofed of monarchy 
and ariftocracy (as our author calls it, though 
nobody will agree with him in opinion at this 
day), being changed, by the malice of men, into 
the bad one of oligarchy, and this by its noxious 
qualities being in a fhort time annihilated, there 
arofe another fpecies of government, mixed of 
monarchy and a republic, in this form : The Pa- 
douans inftituted four councils ; the firft was of 
eighteen, whom they called the Anciani, .three of 
whom were drawn by lot every three months : 
they were afterwards reduced to the number of 
fixteen,and then drawn to the number of four every 
four months* The office of thefe magiftrates was, 
together with the podefta, to exert themfelves with 
all their influence and power to conciliate and 
appeafe all difcords and diffenfions among the, 
citizens, not only in civil affairs, but in criminal 
profecutions ; to fee that the decrees of the fenate 
regarding the public utility were obferved ; that 
the buildings going to decay mould be rebuilt 
or repaired ; that the ftreets, public roads, and 
walks, mould be kept adjufted, free, and unincum- 
bered with obftru&ions ; that in the principal 
quarters of the city mould be provided engines 
for extinguishing or preventing the progrefs of 
fire, as calks, vafes for drawing water, cordage for 
VOL. III. A a making 



making ladders, pickaxes, iron bars, &c ; and, 
finally, to fugged to the other councils all thofe 
things which might be of public utility : and that 
they might be enabled to do this, all public letters 
from foreign princes, and from all magiftrates 
within the dominion of Padoua, were read in their 
prefence. No man was admitted to this council 
of the anciani who was not a Padouan by birth, 
and an inhabitant of the city, for at leaft thirty 
years, without interruption, and who had not a 
foundation of property among his fellow-citizens 
of at leaft two hundred pounds a year. The 
fecond council was called the Leffer Council, 
which at firft confided of forty citizens, partly 
noble and partly plebeian, but afterwards was in- 
creafed to the number of fixty. The authority 
of this council was fuch, that nothing could be 
treated in the greater council if it were not firft 
difcufTed and agitated here, and from hence pro- 
pofed to the greater council. The mode of dif- 
cufling and confulting upon bufmefs was by the 
way of orations or harangues made by the fena^ 
tors, after which they proceeded to a vote, and 
two thirds of the fuffrages determined the quef- 
tion. This rule was alfo obferved in the greater 
council. This council was changed every four 
months, and the fenators who had once been in it 
muft be excluded for eight months. Father and 
fon, brothers, and uncle and nephew, were not 
permitted to fit together in it. To be of this 
council it was neceflfary to be a Padouan by ori- 
gin, to have a father who was a Padouan by 
birth, to have inhabited in Padoua with a family 
at leaft far - forty years continually, to have an 
eftate of fifty pounds income, and to have fubmit- 
ted to the offices of the commons of the city. 


Porienari. 179 

The third council was called the Greater Coun- 
cil, or Parliament : it was at firft of three hundred 
fenators, one moiety nobles, arid the other moiety 
plebeians ; it was afterwards increafed to the 
number of fix hundred, and finally, in 1277, to 
a thoufand, in which were chofen the magistrates, 
and all affairs relative to peace and war were deli- 
berated. By thefe two councils, the greater and 
the lefs were made, at divers times, various mu- 
nicipal laws and ftatutes, of which, by a determi- 
nation of 1263, were made four copies. The firft 
was dopofited in the monaftery of St. j&enedicfc, the 
fecond in that of St. John, the third in that of St. 
Mary, and" the fourth in that of the fathers of 
St. Mary di Porfiglia. The fourth, and laft 
council was common to all the people of the city, 
into which, the doors being open, every one 
might enter : but this council was very feldom 
aiTembled, and never but for things of the utaiofl 
importance. The Padouans, defirous of provid- 
ing a remedy againft the diforders arid mifchiefs 
bccafioned by the confulate, and to extinguish in 
the citizens all occafions of ambition to enjoy the 
government of the city, invented the annual ma- 
giftrate of the podefla, which was the bed medf- 
cine that could be thought of by them to cure the 
diforders already felt, and prevent the greater that 
were apprehended. They created, therefore, for 
ruler of the city, a foreign perfonage, of noble 
blood, and excellent reputation for virtue, who, by 
the weight and eminence -of his authority in 
cafes of life and death, and from his fuperin- 
tendence over all the judicial authority, civil 
and criminal, from the more abfolute obedi- 
ence paid him as the fupreme head of all the 
other magiftfiacies, of the patricians, of the 
plebians, and of the ruftics, and, in a word, 


i8c Padoua. 

from his abfolute power, as it is called, over the city 
and its territory, was called by way of eminence, 
by the name of Podeda. This mannerof Govern- 
ment continued happily enough, as it is faid, till, 
1237, when the city was fubjected by Ezzleino, of 
Romagna, who mod terribly afflicted and mod 
cruelly tormented it forthe fpace of nineteenyears ; 
in which time there was no fort of torment, inhu- 
manity, or cruelty, which it did not fufier from 
that infernal monder, under whofe tyranny that 
mod malignant peftilence, the factions of Guelphs 
and Ghibellines, which, under the name of the 
Imperial party, and. the party of the Church, had 
infected many cities of Italy, and among others 
didempered Piftoia, and did ineflimable mifchief. 
Before we pafs on, it may be well, for the more 
complete information concerning this magiftrate 
of the podefta, to relate a few particulars. The 
po4efta was obliged, three months before the end 
of his government, which lafted one year, to aflem- 
ble the greater council, and caufe to be elected 
eight citizens, four noble and four plebeian, of 
more than thirty years of age : thefe elected 
twelve fenators of the fame council, and of the 
fame age, fix of the patricians and fix ple- 
beians ; who'in like manner elected eight others 
of the fame council, age, and condition, the office 
of whom was to elecl: the new -podefta. Thefe 
were (hut up together in one apartment, and could 
not f peak* to any one, or have more than one 
repaft a day, that .they might the fooner agree 
in the nomination of three perfonages, who were 
afterwards carried to the greater council, who pro- 
ceeded to the election in this manner : All three 
were feparately ballotted for, and he who had the 
mod fuffraees was the new podeda : he who had 
the next number of votes held the fecond place ; 



and he whohadfeweftthelaft,infuch election. The 
fyndick of the city was fent in hade with public 
letters to him who had been honoured with mod 
votes, who, if he accepted the charge, was under- 
flood to be podefta ; but if in four days he did 
not accept it, the fyndick was' fent to the fecond ; 
and if he refufed, the third was fent to ; and if he 
declined, a new election was made of other three 
perfons : and of the acceptance or refufal of thefe 
a record was made by a notary. 

This method of electing the podefta was chang- 
ed in 1257, fmce the examination of the fubjects 
fit for the podeftarate was committed to the lefler 
council, the election of whom afterwards was made 
by the greater council, with this condition, how- 
ever, that the electors of the prefent podefta 
could not have a vote in the election of the fubfe- 
quent podefta, by virtue of a ftatute made in 1 236. 
No man could be elected podefta who had in Fa- 
doua relations, by confanguinity or affinity, within 
the fourth degree, nor who had been baniihed 
from his country For forgery or treafon ; and this 
was alfo underftood of the court or retinue which 
the podefta brought with him, which confifted of 
four judges or afiefibrs, two lieutenants of police, 
and fome other fatellites. The office of the firft 
judge was to aflift the podcfta in all things be- 
longing to the government of the city ; the other 
three judges had the charge of hearing and trying 
the criminal caufes, e^ch one for three months, 
which was ordained .to remove all occafion of fuf- 
picipn that the accufed by length of time might 
poflibly corrupt the judges : but thefe orders were 
afterwards changed, and it was refolved that the 
firft judge, who mud be an eminent doctor of 
laws, mould be the vicar of the podefta, that the 
fecond mould judge criminal caufes, the third 



Iho-uld have the charge of the provifions, and that 
the fourth mould be queflor and receiver of the 
public money. The podefta, judges, and lieute- 
nants, could not have with them in Padoua their 
\vives, nor other ladies their relations, unlefs for 
fifteen days, on occafion of infirmity, nor even 
their brothers, fons, or nephews, more than twelve 
years of age, nor fervants who mould be Pa- 
douans. The podefla was obliged to bring with 
him his two lieutenants, twelve fatellites, twelve 
horfes, twelve valets and fervants, and all this 
family and thefe horfes maintained at his expence, 
for the public ferviceof the city. His falary was 
two thoufand five hundred pounds a year, and was 
afterwards increafed to four thoufand. The po- 
defla was required to come to Padoua eight days 
at leaft before pofleffion was given him of the 
podeflarate, in which time he was obliged to take 
the oath of office, vi. to fwear that he, with his 
judges, would govern without ambition, and 
juftly, and that they would give the greateft atten- 
tion to the affairs of the public, and with all their 
power would conciliate and pacify the controver- 
fies and difcords of the citizens. The podeflarate 
began on the firfl of July ; but in 1280 it was 
decreed to begin the firfl of January. This ma> 
giftracy at firfl contmued for a year ; but in 1294 
a law was made that it mould endure only fix 
months, and that two podeflas mould be created 
each year, one of whom- mould begin his admi- 
niflration with January, the other with July ; 
which law was obferved as long as the republic of 
Padoua remained : but after that Padoua became 
fubje6l, now to the emperor Henry the Seventh, 
now to Frederic duke of Auflria, now to his bro- 
ther Henry duke of Carinthia, now to the Scali- 
gers lords of Verona, and then to the duke of 


Portenari. 183 

Milan, and finally to the Carrarefi, this cuftom of 
two podeftas went into defuetude. 1 he podefta, 
when once in poffeflion of his office, was bound to 
execute the. following orders : Firft, in the fpace 
of three days, to caufe to be read, and afterwards 
to caufe to be punctually obferved, the papal con- 
fiitutions againft heritics. Secondly, to refide 
continually in the city, and rule it until the arrival 
of a fucceffbr. Thirdly, during the whole time of 
his adminiftration to hear the caufes of all perfons 
indifferently, to which end the gates of the palace, 
except at the hour of dinner, fhould always fland 
open. Fourthly, that, together with the anciani, he 
fhould ufe all his endeavours that the canonicates, 
and the other ecclefiaftical benefices, of the bi- 
mopric and diocefs of Padoua, fhould be confer- 
red on citizens of Padoua, or of her diftrici. 
Fifthly, to elet eight citizens, men of prudence 
and experience, two for each quarter, who fhould 
make choke of four or five hundred able men, 
who, when they mould hear the found of the palace 
bells, fhould come armed, under their ftandards, to 
the palace of the pretor, and to the piazza del 
Vino, for the defence of the podefta. Sixthly, to 
give orders that, at the found of the great bell of 
the tower of the palace, all the citizens and inha- 
bitants of Padoua, from fixteen to fixty years of 
age, mould run armed'to the piazza to defend the 
common liberty. Seventhly, to create a captain, 
who with fome foldiers, mould have the cuftody of 
the city and its fuburbs. Eighthly, to hold, night 
and day, guards at the gates of the city. Ninthly, 
to give orders that in the city and in the fuburbs 
mould be kept crofs-bows, and other weapons, to 
exercife thg foldiers. Tenthly, to caufe to be 
enrolled in the militia many men of the villages* 
who, according to occurrences, mould come armed 


184 Padoua. 

to the city. Eleventhly, in all great tumults to 
order into the piazza the ftandards of the commu- 
nity ; in which cafe ftandard-bearers of the arts, at 
the found of the bells of the palace, were held to 
go to the piazza del Vino, with the men under 
their command, armed, ready to obey whatever 
orders the podefta mould ifiue ? and there aflem- 
ble, to be formed into a body, under the enfigns 
of the- community, which could not depart from 
the piazza without the exprefs command of the 
podefta himfelf, for whofe guard there were al- 
ways five hundred foldiers elected, one hundred 
from the body of the patricians, and four hundred 
from the plebians, diftinguifhed into four fqua- 
drons, under four ftandards. Twelfthly, that for 
eight days before the arrival of a fuccefibr, the 
podefta cannot give fentence in civil or criminal 
caufes. Thirteenthly, that having finiflied his 
podeftarate, he, his affeflbrs, and courtiers, mould 
remain fourteen days in Padoua, to render an ac- 
count before the fyndick of their adminiftration, 
which is done in this manner : For the three firft 
days it was lawful to every one to accufe the po- 
defta, affeflbrs, and courtiers, before the fyndicks, 
of any wrongs or injuries done them : in the eight 
following days thefe complaints were determined 
by the votes of the major part of the fyndicks ; and 
if, by the multitude of complaints, or by dif- 
ferences of opinions among the fyndicks, or 
through other reafons, the. bufinefs could not be 
fmifhed, three other days were added, in which 
the fyndicks were obliged to determine it. From 
the defence againft the complaints made againft 
thepodefta were excluded all his favourites, friends, 
and relations, and all advocates ; his own judges 
and alfeflfors were alone admitted, and were 
thought fufficient for his defence. At the end of 


Portendrt. 185 

the fourteenth day the podefla might depart with 
his family. He could not be confirmed in the 
podefterate for the next year, nor for the five 
following years ; neither himfelf, nor any of his 
relations, could hold any office, dignity, or ho- 
nours, in the cityofPadoua ; and this was under- 
itood of the aflefibrs, lieutenants of police, and 
other officers : but this flatute was very often not 
obferved. As population augmented, and caufes 
and controverfies multiplied, and therefore the 
podefta and his afleflbrs could not determine the 
whole, certain other judges were inftituted, and 
called Judges of the Lower Courts, and were diftin- 
guifhed from each other by the names of animals, 
for the mod part, as the bear, the horfe, the 
leopard, and others. For the fuits arifmg be- 
tween relations, two judges were inftituted as 
arbitrators, who in the fpace of two months, 
were to give fentence, and terminate the con- 
troverfy : and if they could not agree, they called 
in ten jurors for each party ; and if thefe difagreed, 
the podefta himfelf, in the fpace of fifteen days, 
&t in judgment with the reft, and decided the 

As to the* government of the territory, it is to 
be obferved, that fomeof the moft rich and pow- 
erful citizens of Padouahad the name of proceres, 
noblemen or barons, and in fome of their landed 
eftates and places they exercifed the jurifdi&ionof 
blood, that is the power of life and death ; and to 
ennoble their dominions, manors,or lordfhips, with 
the magnificence of titles, in the year 1196 they 
diftinguifhed themfelves into marquifles, counts, 
and caftellans. The lords of Efte were entitled mar- 
quifles ; the lords of Anguillara, Abano, Argua, 
Baone,Bibano, Borgoricco^Calaone^RuftayCerro, 
Calcinara, Caldenazzo,Candiana,Carturo^Caftel- 

VOL. III. B b nubvo, 

1 86 Padoua. 

nuovo, Cortaloro, Fontaniva, Honara, Limena, 
Lozzo, Montebello, Montebuto, Montemerlo, 
Manchia,Nono, and Piazzola, were called counts ; 
the lords of Carrara,Campbfanpiero,Montagnone, 
Peraga, Pievedifacco, Publica, Revolone, Ronchide 
Campanili, Stra, Selvazzano, Tortula, Villa Rapa, 
Tribano, Galzignano, Noventa, Treville, and 
Villa Nova, were denominated caftellans. But the 
caflellan of Selvazzano having caufed to be cut 
out the eyes of a certain woman for theft, who 
afterwards came, deprived of her eyes, to Padoua, 
the cruelty of this action difpleafed the republic 
of Padoua fo much, that, in the year 1200, a law 
was made, that under pain of death, no man 
mould, for the future, exlercife any jurifdiction in 
the territory of Padona, which law was re-enacted 
and confirmed in 1205. The jurifdiction of life 
and death, and all other jurifdiction, being taken 
away from thefe grandees (magnati), the whole 
territory was governed by the podefta of Padoua ; 
and afterwards, in the courfe of time, the repub- 
lic of Padoua fent a podefta into the following 
diftrith of land, viz. Confelve, Lonino, Montag- 
nana, and twenty-four other diftricts. The cuf- 
tom of fending podeftas into thofe diftri&s con- 
tinued till 1290, when a ftatute was made, that 
places which were not walled mould not have 
a podefta, but that into fome of them vicars 
only (hould be fent. Such, then, was the go- 
vernment of Padoua, from the year 1194 to the 
tyranny of Ezzelino, mixed of monarchy and a 
republic, and this conftitution was reftored after 
the delivery of the city from that fierce and cruel 
bppreffion, and lafted happily for fifty years, with 
a remarkable increafe of the city in riches and 
power ; and would have lafted much longer, if 
the curfed factions of Ghibellines and Guelphs 



had not difturbed the peace of the citizens, which 
afterwards, by little and little, by means of the 
poifon of thofe factions creeping in their hearts, 
afflicted the city to fuch a degree, that, finally, in 
the year 13 r 8, it took away their vital fpirits, 
depriving them of their beloved liberty. 

The parties of Ghibellines and Guelphs," under 
the names of the Empire and the Church, fown in 
the hearts of men by the enemy of the human 
race, had intoxicated Italy, and contaminated the 
city of Padoua. So fays the hiftorian ; and without 
denying to the devil his (hare in the inftigation of 
all fuch party diftinctions and animofities,it muft be 
ftill infilled on, that the efTential defect in thecon- 
flitution of every Italian republic was the greater! 
caufe, and the inftrument with which the infernal 
agent wrought. The parties of rich and poor, of 
gentlemen and fimplemen, unbalanced by fome 
third power, will always look out for foreign aid, 
and never be at a lofsfor names, pretexts, and dif- 
tinctions. Whig and Tory, Conftitutionalift and 
Republican, Anglomane and Francornane, Athe- 
nian and Spartan, will ferve the purpofe as well as 
Guelph and Ghibelline. The great defideratum 
in a government is a diftinct executive power, of 
fufficient ftrcngth and weight to compel both 
thefe parties, in turn, to fubmit to the laws* The 
mifchiefs of thefe contagious parties were greateft 
under the tyranny of Ezzelino, who, being {land- 
ard-bearer and head of the Imperial or Ghibelline 
party, exerted all his force to extirpate the Guelph 
party, followed by the people, and a great part of 
the patricians. After his death the Guelph party 
rofe, and with all their power perfecuted the Ghi- 
bellines, driving them from the city, and fpoiling 
them of all their goods ; and as the plebeians of 
Padoua were devoted to the Guelph party, whether 




from their natural inclinations, or becaufe the 
, Guelphs had delivered the city from the empire of 
Ezzelino, upon this occafion certain profligate 
popular men became, by the favour of the ple- 
beians, heads of the Guelph faction, became proud, 
arrogant and prefumptuous, defiring that all the 
affairs of the republic mould depend upon their 
will ; but fufpefting that fome of the principal 
gentlemen, to whom fo much pride of the 
Guelphs had become difgufting, would oppofe 
their ambitious enterprizes, gave the plebeians to 
underfland, that thofe gentlemen intended to 
make themfelves fole maflers of the government ; 
and excited fo great a commotion, that the ple- 
beians, who, as in adverfe fortune they are fervile, 
fo in profperity are infolent, demanded in a tur- 
bulent manner, and obtained by threats and by 
force, the inftitution of a magiflrate, according 
to the ufage of the Roman republic, like a tribune 
of the people, (the Padouans called thefe magif- 
trates Gaftaldi dell y Arti), ? who mould defend the 
rights of the plebeians, and have authority to 
refcind all thofe determinations of the fenate, as 
was the cuftom in Rome, which could occafion 
any prejudice to the jurifdi&ion of the plebeians. 
Wherefore, in teftimony of the power granted to 
the tribunes, it was, by a decree of the fenate, in 
1293, ordained, that every podefta, in the begin- 
** .rring of his adminiftration, mould confign to each 
of the gaftaldi of the arts the ftandard of that 
art : and this tribunian magiftracy advancing 
every day in power, caufed to be made in its 
favour, in the year j 296, a ftatute, that on the 
" firft Sunday in every month the gaftaldi mould all 
afTemble in the church of the palace of the com- 
mons, and treat fully of all things that belonged 
to the ftate of the city. The whole government 


Portenan. . 189 

of the city, by this alteration, devolved into the 
hands of the tribunes, becaufe, as has been faid 
before, they annulled or confirmed, at their plea- 
fare, the determinations of the greater council, 
and becaufe they carried up to the council what- 
ever they had concluded among themfelves, with 
a certainty of obtaining their concurrence, by the 
dependence which they had upon the popular fena- 
tors, and alfo upon the lefs powerful of the no- 
ble fenators, whom they had drawn to their devo- 
tion by electing them to the honours of the city, 
and by alTuming fome of them into the number of 
the tribunes, from which magiftracy, and univer- 
fally from all the greater honours, they always 
moil arbitrarily excluded the moft powerful of the 
nobles. From this diforderly and violent domi- 
nation of the tribunes, who had for the moft part 
greatly enriched themfelves, grew inteftine ha- 
treds and terrible feditions between the primary 
perfons and the heads of the popular party, of 
whom the patricians of middling power, exalted 
by the people to honours, became the factors ; 
and, finally, fome of the primary gentlemen and 
moft powerful patricians, not being able any 
longer to bear to be neglected by the tribunian 
power, took up arms, killed the principal heads 
and defenders of the plebeians, and in fuch a man- 
ner intimidated th'ofe patricians who adhered to 
the plebeians, that, after many engagements, and 
a profufe effufiion of blood, the tribunefhip of the 
people was abolifhed in the year 1314, and the 
government and the public authority was tranf- 
ferred to the patricians, excluding totally the ple- 
beians. Thefe, in order to keep down the Ghi- 
bellines, increased the fenate (which, from the time 
of the extinction of the houfe of Honora, had 
been only of three hundred members) to the num. 
. ber of a thoufand, incorporating feven hundred 

Guelphs ; 


Guclphs ; and wifhing that all queftions and mat- 
ters relative to peace or war mould depend wholly 
on the Guelph faction, and the better to eftablifh 
the fuperiority of their party, they inftituted ano- 
ther council, wholly of Guelphs, which had autho- 
rity to approve or reject the decrees of the greater 
lenate : from the body of this letter council were 
created the four anciani confervators of the liberty, 
and eight fecretaries for the cuftody of the city. This 
mode of government continued till the year 1318, 
when Padoua began to lofe her liberty, which me 
afterwards wholly loft, remaining fubjecl: fometimes 
to the Germans, fometimes to the Scaligers, fome- 
times to the Carrefi, until, finally, after infinite 
calamities, me was benignly received into the pious 
bofom of the moft ferene republic of Venice, in the 
year 1405*. Such as have been related, were the 
viciflitudes of the governmentof the city of Padoua 
after the tyranny of Ezzelino, which may be reca- 
pitulated thus : According to the hiftorian, at firft 
it was a mixture of monarchy and a republic ; af- 
terwards it was changed into a democracy, for fuch 
he denominates the tribunefhip of the plebeians, 
in which the people attempted the abafement and 
annihilation of the grandees ; and finally it termi- 
nated in a government mixed of monarchy and 
ariftocracy, haying the fenate of the optimates, 
and creating the podefta annually : for the major 
part of the the time from 1 08 1 to 1 3 1 8, it was go- 
verned by one or other of the two bed fpecies of 
mixed government, as our hiftorian thought, 
which are compofed of monarchy and ariftocracy, 
and of monarchy and republic. 

This fovereignty of Padoua was, for the moft 
part, in one affembly, for although a check was 
aimed at by the law, that nothing mould be done 

* Laugier, vol. v. p. 236. , 



in the great council, which had not been pre- 
vioufly debated in the little council, yet, when any 
thing was propofed by the latter to the former, 
they fat together and voted as one aflembly. At 
fome times the fovereignty was clearly in one 
aflembly of optimates or patricians ; at another, 
in one aflembly of plebeians, as that of the tri- 
bunes was : at laft two aflemblies are formed, 
with each a negative ; but their being no third 
power to mediate between them, no balance could 
be formed or maintained between them. At no 
time had the rnonarchial power, either under 
the confuls, anciani, or podeftas, a negative ; for 
though the podefta was an office of great dignity 
and fplendor, he never had the whole executive 
power, nor a negative on the legiflative. The 
nobles and commons were mixed together in both 
councils; and the executive power, the appoint- 
ment of offices, &c. was always in one or other of 
the aflemblies : and the confequence was inftabi- 
lity to the laws, infecurity to life, liberty, and 
property, conftant rivalry between the principal 
families, particularly the Scalligeri and Carrarefi, 
which ended in conqueft and fubjedion to Venice. 
From 1103 to 1194 the government of confuls 
continued. From 1 195 to 1236 the government 
of podeftas under the republic of Padoua. From 
1237 to 1256 the tyranny of Ezzelinowas fup- 
ported. From 1257 to 1294 the government of 
podeftas, under the republic, was revived and 
maintained. From 1295 to 1311 they had two 
podeftas. In 1312 Gerardo de gl* Inzola da 
Parma was Imperial vicar for the emperor Henry 
the Seventh, to whom the padouans began ta 
yield obedience ; though they rebelled again this 
year againft his authority, and the podeftas an4 
republic were revived and continued till 1318, in 




which year Giacomo Grande da Carrara was 
made the firft lord of Padoua : he governed 
one year and three months, and then renounced 
the dominion, and died in 1324. In 1319 a po- 
defta again for one year. In 1320 the city of 
Padoua, to deliver itfelf from the fiege of Cane 
Scaligero, lord of Verona, gave itfelf to Frederick 
the Third, emperor and duke of Auftria, 'who 
afterwards gave it to his brother Henry, duke of 
Carinthia, under whom they were governed by 
podeftas, who were at the fame time Imperial 
vicars, till 1328. The podefla of this year was 
difmified by Marfilio da Carrara, who had been 
elected by the people lord of Padoua, who, how- 
ever, made Pietro de i Rofli, of Parma, podefta j 
but he not being able longer to refift in the war 
with Cane della Scala, married Tadea, daughter 
of Giacomo Grande de Carrara, firft lord of Pa- 
doua, to Maftinq dalla Scala, nephew of Cane, 
giving him Padoua in dower.. From 1329 to 
1337 Padoua was governed by podeftas, under 
the dominion of the Scalligers. In 1337 Marfilio 
da Carrara having expelled the Scaligers, was made 
the fecond lord of Padoua, and governed in 1338. 
In 1338 Marfilio da Carrara, fecond lord of Pa- 
doua, died, and to him fucceeded Ubertino da 
Carrara, third lord of Padoua. From 1339 to 
1345 the government of podeftas continued under 
the princes Carrareli. In 1345 Ubertino da Car- 
rara, third lord of Padoua, being fick, caufed to 
be elected for his fuccefibr Marfilietto Papa fava 
da Carrara, who was the fourth lord of Padoua, 
and dbd ; but the fame year Marfilietto was 
killed by Giacomo da Carrara, who became the 
iifth lord of Padoua, and under him the govern- 
ment of podeftas continued till 1350, when Gia- 
como da Carrara, the fifth lord of Padoua, was 


PortenafL 193 

affaflinated by William da Carrara, a natural fon 
of Giacomo Grande, the firft lord ; to whom fuo 
ceeded Giacobino da Carrara his brother, the 
fixth lord, and Francefco da Carrara, furnamed 
the Old, his fon, and feventh lord of Padoua : un- 
der thefe the government by podeftas continued 
till 1362, when Francefco da Carrara the Oldim- 
prifoned his uncle Giacobino da Carrara, becaufe 
he had confpired his death, and reigned lord 
alone till 13,88, when Francefco da Carrara re- 
nounced the dominion of this city to his fon 
Francefco da Carrara, called the New, eighth and 
laft lord of Padoua. The fame year, in November, 
both the father and the fon were deprived of the 
government of this (late by John Galeazzo Vif- 
conte, firft duke of Milan, who governed it by 
podeftas for the years 1388 and 1389, when Fran- 
cefco da Carrara, called the New, drove out the 
people of the duke of Milan, and recovered Pa- 
doua and its diftricl:, except Boflano. From 
1390 podeftas were continued till 1405, when the 
Carrara were conquered, and Padoua admitted 
into the republic of Venice. In 1393 Francefco 
da Carrara, furnamed the Old, feventh lord of 
Padoua, died in a prifon in Monza, to which he 
had been fent by John Galeazzo Vifconte, duke of 


[ '94 ] 


M A N T O U A. 

Dear Sir, 

EQUICOLA concurs with Leonardo Arc- 
tino, and all the other Italian writers, in his 
account of the antiquity, riches, and power of 
the Tufcans, Etrufcans, Etrurians, Tyrrhenians, 
or Dodicapoli (for by all thefe names they were 
known), their original emigration from Lydia, 
their government of Lucumoni, their twelve 
confederated peoples, their fubejection in a courfe 
of time to the Romans, Goths, Longobards, and 
Charlemaign, who for his merit was, in the year 
00, created emperor, with the titles of Csefar and 
Auguftus, by the pope Leo the Third, who un- 
derftood the effects upon the minds of the people of 
words and titles fo anciently beloved as well as 
dreaded in Italy. He gave him alfo the title of 
Great, which had been before given only to three 
princes, Alexander, Pompey, and Conflantine. 
The authority which the Roman fenate and people 
had anciently exercifed, of electing and confirming 
the emperors, was now by Charlemain transfer- 
red to the Roman pontificate ; and to prevent fedi- 
tions, the power of confirming the pontiff was 
given to the emperor : a promifing alliance 1 
Afterwards, in 1002, Gregory the Fifth ordained 
a conflitution, which continues to this time, 
that the election of future emperors mould be 
free in the power of the Germans, and the ec- 


Equkola. 195 

clefiaftical and temporal electorates were then 

In 1 1 1 1 Mantoua fell into difcords, threw off 
her fubjedtion to Matilda, and aflumed an indepen- 
dence; but being befieged and reduced to great dif- 
trefs, was obliged to fubmit again to that princefs. 

In ii 14 Sigibert, an enterprizing man, took 
the opportunity of the troubles in Italy to ag- 
grandize himfelf, and going from Lucca, he made 
himfelf lord of Parma and Reggie. He was a 
Lombard by defcent, and was prefect or lord of 
thofe cities. Sigibert had three fons, Sigibert the 
Second, Atto, and Gerardo ; two of them died, 
and Atto alone remained, who by the change of 
the letters was afterwards called Azzo. He for- 
tified Canofla, in Reggiano, and there inhabited as 
his principal feat, whence his defcendants were 
called da Canoffa, He had two fons, the firft of 
whom was named Tedaldo, and the other, uniting 
the names of his grandfather and father, was call- 
ed Sigibertazzo, although it was afterwards cor- 
ruptly called Albertazzo. This perfon was fent 
into Germany, and recommended himfelf to Otto, 
the emperor, fo effectually, as to obtain a grant 
for his fervices of Calaone, Monfelice, Montag- 
nana, Arqui, and EJle, with the title of marquis. 
He married Alda, a natural daughter of the em- 
peror. From this match there iflued two fons, 
Ugo and Falco : the latter remained in Germany 
with his mother ; Ugo came into Italy with his 
father, and fucceeded to the lands above mentioned, 
and to the marquifate of Efte. From this Ugo 
are defcended the illuftrious lords of the houfe of 
Efte, who reigned fo long in Ferrara ; and from 
them were defcended the family that was called 
the Canofli of Verona. 

* Equieola, p. .25. Commentari Mantouani. 


196 Mantoua. 

There was in Mantoua, in 1265, four moft 
powerful families, and four others their adherents, 
of fomewhat lefs influence. The Bonacolfi and 
GrofTolani inhabited one quarter j the Arlotti and 
the Poltroni another : thefe not long before had 
driven out the Calorofi. In a third quarter were 
the Cafalodi and thofe of Riva ; and in the 
fourth, the Zenacalli and the Gaffari. 

The government was, as in all the other cities of 
Italy, in one centre, a general council, who^firft 
appointed confuls, then podeftas, then gonfa- 
loniers, captains of the people, &c. which pro- 
duced the ufual ftruggles for power ; and in 
the year 1266 the Gaffari entered into a fecret 
confpiracy to deliver the city of Mantoua into 
the hands of the Eftenfi, lords of Ferrara. The 
treafon was difcovered, and thofe who faved their 
lives by flight were banifhed for ever, and the 
others inftantlyput to death, and the houfes of 
all who were accomplices or privy to the crime 
were burnt and demolifhed. The power of indi- 
vidual citizens increafed every day, and parties 
and factions in confequence. The podefla, though 
a foreigner was ufually created to that office, ad- 
miniftered its functions according to the will and 
pleafure of a fmall number of the principal men. 
The juftice of power, or the right of the ffrongeft, 
was inculcated, and equity gave way to violence*. 
In fuch a tumult of the factions, the prudent 
men called a convention, to deliberate on a new 
form of government. Some were for ephori, as 

* Crefceva ogni di. piu la potenza de particolari, augu- 
wentavanii le.fattfoni & parti. II podeila, quale foreftiere fi 
foleva creare, ad arbitrio di alcuni pochi amminiftrava, il fuo 
officio : la giiis titia dalla forza era conculcata, & Pequita 
cedeva alia violenza. Commentari Mantouani, di Equicola, 
p. 47, 48, 


Equicola. 197 

in Sparta ; others for cofmi, as in Crete ; others 
for fuffetes, as in Carthage : but the mod were 
for hipati, as in Greece, or rather for two confuls, 
as in Rome. Two magiftrates were therefore 
created ; and that they might be fure to guard 
againft ambition, they rnufl be chofen in rotation 
every fix months, two at a time, from each of the 
four quarters of the city. Thefe were to be 
called captains of the people, and were to be the 
protectors of the plebeians, and defenders of their 
liberties. Two magiftrates, therefore from the 
body of the nobility, were appointed, in the na- 
ture of tribunes of the people, and thofe were 
Pinamonte, of the family of Bonacolfi, and Otto- 
nello, of that of Zenecalli, in the year 1274. 
Thefe had not continued one month in office to- 
gether, before fuch animofities arofe between the 
two families, that Zenecallo was treacheroufly 
called in the night into the palace, under pretence 
of confulting upon fome fudden affair of the laft 
importance, and there murdered by the Bonacolfi. 
The next morning the Bonacolfi called together 
the principal nobility, and, with fictitious grief 
and pharifaical tears, communicated the fat, and 
exhorted the people to revenge, wiihing that every 
one might believe that the deceafed magiftrate had 
been alfaulted and put to death by fome private 
enemy. An inquiry was ordered, which engaged 
fo much attention, and took up fo much time, 
that no man fpoke of any fucceffbr, and therefore 
Pinamonte governed alone. The fcramble for 
power was as yet altogether among the gentle- 
men. Benvenuta da Imola, in his commentaries 
upon Dante, where he reafons of Mantoua, writes, 
that this city had been inhabited by gentlemen 
of Riva, of Mercaria, and of Cafaloldi ; and that 
Bonacolfo had agreed with thefe houfes to expel 



198 Mantoua. 

from the city every other nobleman ; and that 
afterwards, forming a particular agreement with 
two of them, he drove out the third ; and then 
uniting with the Cafaloldi, he banifhed the fe- 
cond ; and, finally, driving out the Cafaloldi, he 
remained alone, and by artifice, affifted with force, 
continued without a colleague in the magiftracy ; 
and taking for his podefta Alberto della Scala, 
for a ftri&er union he obtained the place of 
podefta in Verona for Giannino de Bonacolfi, not 
failing to maintain a good intelligence with the 
marquis of Efte. By all thefe arrangements he 
eafily obtained from his followers the prolonga- 
tion of his own power for another fix months ; and 
when he had thus laid his foundations fufficiently 
ftrong to fupport any edifice, he aflumed the title of 
captain-general. Thefe encroachments were very 
uneafily fupported by the nobles, who perceived 
that from free citizens they were became, by little 
and little, the fubje&s of a tyrant. Whereupon 
the Arlotti, the Cafaloldi, the Agnelli, and the . 
Grofiblani, confpired together to throw off the 
yoke : but Pinamonte being informed of the 
plot on the very day on which it was to have 
been executed, and being well prepared, he fell 
unexpectedly on the confpirators, one after ano- 
ther, fome of whom he took prifoners, others 
were killed, many wounded, and the great multi- 
tude faved themfelves by flight ; many fufpe&ed 
perfons were fent out of their beloved home, and 
confined in various places. Pinamonte did not 
ceafeto perfecute his adverfaries, until all things 
in the city appeared to be quieted under his do- 
minion. The miferable Mantouans were difperf- 
ed in various places, and particularly in Gonzaga : 
but the tyrant had the art to hold out temptations 
of lands, reftitution of property, and reftoration 



to their country, to thefe, till they furrendered to 
him that Gonzaga, which had often defended itfelf 
both againft popes and emperors. Pinamonte 
then eftablifhed a friendfhip with Venice and Pa- 
doua, but was interrupted in his career in 1289 by 
death. The family of Bonacolfi, with Pinamonte 
at their head, had, by forming a popularity among 
the vileft plebeians, been able to expel the other 
noble families, and make themfelves abfolute. So 
complete was their afcendency over the minds of 
the rabble, that, upon the death of Pinamonte, the 
minority were not able to obtain any regular election 
or rational reform of thegovernment ;but Bardellone 
Bonacolfi was fet up by his party for a fucceflbr, a 
man univerfally hated, a rnonfter without virtue, 
abfurd in the conduct of his whole life, unfkil- 
ful, infolent, without judgment or experience ; 
equally ignorant and arrogant, vile and fufpicious, 
yet credulous, and a flave to adulation ;* devoted 
to cruelty and luft. This peftiferous tyrant go- 
verned in Mantua five years, according to Plantina; 
but the plebeians themfelves could bear him no 
longer, and fet up another of the fame family 
againft him. Bottigella Bonacolfi with little 
difficulty was able to expel him, and Tamo his 
brother, one of whom died miferably at Padoua, 
and the other at Ferrara. We pafs over the 
a&ions of Bottigella, and his wars with Cremona 
and with Azzo 1 ilenfe, &c. 

In 1308 Bottigella died, as well as his enemy 
Azzo : to the latter fucceeded his fon Flifco, and 
to the former Paflarino, his brother ; for this ple- 
beian tyranny was already become hereditafy in 
the family. Although the government of Pafla- 
rino was not remarkable for folly or feverity, yet 
Luigi Gonzaghi, who had connected Jiimfelf in 
marriage with the Bonacolfi, being *a man of 


2oo Mantoua. 

abilities, and knowing the general difcontent of the 
people, and the univerfal hatred of the nobility 
againfl that family, entered into a concert with 
fome of the neighbouring lords, as Cane della 
Scala, &c. found little difficulty to depofe and 
expel PofTarino, put him to death, and reign in 
his (lead. The family of the Gonzaghi were 
named from the place of their ancient refidence, 
which was Gonzaga. A multitude of conjectures 
atid fables, collected from various authors, con- 
cerning the origin of this family, we pafs over. 
Guido Gonzaga, who fought againfl Manfred 
king of Naples, had five fons, the firft of whom 
was Luigi, the author and founder of the lord- 
fhip and marquifate of Mantoua. 

In 1328, it is faid, that by the confent of the 
people, according to the laws, and good cuftoms, 
one was Delected, after the death of PaiTarino in 
1328, to whom, and to his fucceflbrs, was given 
for perpetuity the whole empire, as was ufual in 
the heroic times. The Mantouans reafoned irt 
this manner : The mode of making a common- 
wealth perpetual, or of any long duration, is by 
prudence, which difpofes and rules with manly 
energy, as well as with wife difcernment. This 
can alone be performed in a date by means of 
juftice, which diflributes to every one his deferts ; 
to the good, rewards and honours ; to the wicked, 
punifhment and infamy. As the virtue of cle- 
mency is the daughter of magnanimity, and par- 
ticipates of divinity, we always applaud it when 
it expends only to offences committed againfl 
ourfelves ; and it is commended in princes when- 
ever pardon and mercy cannot caufe an injury to 
the public, and give infolence to the daring to 
rife againfl the laws. It fhould be a pleafure to 
princes to remit private injuries j but, fldlful in 


Equicola. 201 

the healing art, they fhould not be fo partially 
compaffionate as to heal one wound at the hazard 
of deftroying the whole body. The liberty of 
the people confifts in two things, in the laws and 
the tribunals : when thefe prevail in a city, without 
favour, refpeft, or partiality, that city and its citi- 
zens are free. Upon thefe principles the Man- 
touans, finding that liberty never had been enjoy- 
ed by them under their uncouth government of a 
republic, ftrange to relate! adopted voluntarily 
an abfolute monarchy. Louis was elected and 
conftituted upon thefe principles and for thefe 
reafons, and began his reign by an ailiduous at- 
tention to the revival of laws which had been 
trampled under foot, and by a diligent folicitude 
that all the good cuftoms mould be obferved with 
equality. And this is fufficient for another ex- 
ample of the ilruggles of a few families, in an 
unbalanced government, for pre-eminence, and of 
the final triumph of the Gonzaghi over the Bo- 
nacolfi, in a monarchy creeled on the ruins of a 




Dear Sir, 

CHIUCI, the country and refidence of Por- 
fenna, the ancient king to whom Tarquin 
fled for hofpitality, was one of the moft ancient 
and powerful cities of Tufcany or Etruria. As 
Chiufi was in a low fituation and a bad air, 
Porfenna chofe, for his pleafure and his health, a 
mountain in the neighbourhood, where was a 
falubrious atmofphere and an admirable profped ; 
an ample plain, the lake of Thrafimene., and the 
river of Chiane, with hills and vallies loaded with 
every production of the earth, in -grapes, grains, 
snd fruits, in the mod perfect elegance and abund- 
ance, were around it. 

In after ages, upon a civil war in Chiufi between 
the gentlemen and plebeians, in which the former 
were expelled, they retired to this mountain, and 
gave it the name of Mons Politicus, which was 
corrupted afterwards, in the vulgar pronunciation, 
into Monfpolitianus, and fmce into Montepul- 
ciario. The plebeians of the fame city paffed the 
river, took poffeflion of another elevated fituation, 
where they built a cattle, and called it Caftrum 

Though Florence and Siena have, at different 
times, pretended that Montepulciano was in their 
dominion : yet it is certain that, for three hun- 
dred years tit leaft, it was an independent fove- 


Spinello Bend. 203 

reign republic. At an expence of continual wars 
it maintained its liberty. Its government was by 
podeflas and general councils, like all the other 
cities ; and its whole hiftory is made up of revo- 
lutions, from nobles to plebeians, and from ple- 
beians to nobles, Florence and Siena taking the 
parties of oppofite factions. Even in this little 
village there were great families as well as little 
ones, the Guidos, Ugolinos, the Rulgnellos, and 
Rinieri, Continually flruggling for prefidence. 
In the year 1328 the Rinieri, or rather the family 
del Pecora, were accounted noble, becaufe they 
were rich, and powerful in followers, adherents, 
and relations : they had increafed in reputation 
and power to fuch a degree, that they domineered 
at their difcretion, over all their compatriots. 
The heads of the houfe were Jacob and Niccolas 
de Cavalieri, who governed in concurrence, with 
prudence and good order^ till 1352, when diflen- 
fions and difcords began to arife between them. 
Jocob concerted with Peter Sacconi, who govern- 
ed in Arezzo, a project to make himfelf mafter 
of Montipulciano ; but Niccolas, his colleague, 
revealed it to the governor of the people, who ex- 
cited an infurrection, and expelled Jacob, with 
twenty of his followers ; and afterwards, with the 
influence and councils of Niccolas, the govern- 
ment was reformed, and all the friends of Jacob 
were excluded from any (hare in it, according to 
the cuftom and the nature of all majorities, when 
there is no power but a minority to rebuff their 
pretenfions*. . Jacob, in his turn, had intrigued 
with Vifconti, archbifhop of Milan, and his allies, 
and corrupting a notary, an officer on guard, 
broke down a gate in the night, entered with all 

* Matt. ViJl. lib. iii. c. 10. f, 146. an. 1352. 


2 04 Montep ulclano. 

his men, and excited an uproar. Niccolas, a 
knight of great fpirit, feized his arms, and with a 
few of his companions, mounting his horfe, with- 
out waiting for further help, attacked the enemy 
with fuch impetuofity that they fled in a panic* 
Jacob, with twenty-five horfemen, efcaped ; the 
others were taken, to the number of twenty- five, 
together with the notary and the guard. The 
governors of the people hanged thirty, and releaf- 
ed the reft, having firft marked them for ever, by 
flitting their nofes and cutting of their ears. 

Jacob then fled to Siena, and there attempted 
to form connexions and obtain auxiliaries ; and 
Niccolas, and the governors of the people of 
Montepulciano, applied to Perugia, and a war was 
excited between thofe two cities, which was ter- 
minated by ambafladors, upon thefe conditions, 
that Montepulciano fhould remain under the go- 
vernment of the people, under the protection of 
the commons of Siena, for twenty years ; Jacob 
and Niccolas were to be indemnified for the ex- 
pences, and their eftates roftored, and the com- 
mons of Florence and Perugia were to be gua- 
rantees. Tommafi adds, that another condition 
was the reftoration of all the refugees*. The 
next year the peace was broken, and Niccolas fent 
into banifhment ; but collecting friends without, 
and concerting meafures with his partifans within, 
he found means to enter Montepulciano, with 
two hundred horfe and five hundred foot : but 
he met with fuch a refiftance from his enemies in 
the place, and their Sienefe allies, that he perceiv- 
ed he could not overcome them. He therefore 
took the barbarous refolution to burn the town, 
and retire : his party fet fire to as many houfes as 

* Tom. lib. x. fo. 319. an. 1353. 


Splnello Benei. 205 

poffible, and while the people and foldiers were 
intent upon preventing the progrefs of the flames 
he retreated. Niecolas and Jacob, at length 
rinding that they gained nothing and loft much 
by continual quarrels, came to an agreement, and 
folicited the emperor to hold the government of 
Montepulciano as Imperial vicars : but the people 
would not admit them, becaufe the Sienefe would 
not receive fuch vicars. This occafioned a frefli 
war between the commons of Montepulciano 
and thofe of Siena on one fide, and the Perugians, 
in conjunction with the Pecora family and their 
adherents, on the other. In this war a memora- 
ble battle was fought, and the Montepulcians 
diftinguifhed themfelves by fo much valour, that 
the Perugians created four of them cavaliers, viz, 
John the fon of Niecolas, and Gherard, the fon 
of Jacob, and two of their nephews, Berthbldo and 
Corrado, all of the family del Pecora : and the 
Perugian conquerors, with their Montepulcian 
cavaliers, committed the cuftomary depredations 
and devaftations. - 

The government of the land being in the hands 
of the people, for the fake of the public tranquil- 
lity Jacob and Niecolas del Pecora remained 
abroad in banifhment, inhabiting Valiano, a flrong 
place, and a plentiful fituation. The latter, know- 
ing the nature of the citizens of Montepulciano., 
accuftomed to hope more than they ought, and 
to tolerate lefs than was necefiary, discontented 
and prone to novelties, vacillating between the 
commons of Siena and thofe of Perugia through 
alternate envy, jealoufy, and refentment, and being 
never at reft, entered into a fecret correfpondence 
with them , in order to return to his country. His 
purpofe was in time accomplifhed, and he was 
joyfully received by the people, and mutual for- 




givenefs of injuries and affronts was flipulatecL 
Recollecting that the rupture between him and 
Jacob had been the caufe of all the evils, he fent 
a melfenger to him, and a reconciliation was ef- 
fected between them for the common benefit of 
their country. All was now joy, friendmip, and 
feflivity, in appearance, but the fecret caufes of dif- 
cord were ftill at work, and before the year 1363 
produced another revolution, and Niccolas and his 
friends were again exiled. 

Five years afterwards the exiles from Montepul r 
ciano, with fome afliftance from the grandees of 
Siena, entered and conquered their country, and 
fent Jacob, who had made himfelf lord and maf- 
ter, to prifon. But the plebeians, and others, 
who had been oppreffed by him, and mortally 
hated him, could not fatiate their vengeance 
merely by burning and plundering all his pro- 
perty : they broke open his prifon, and tore him 
into pieces fo fmali, that no part of his body could 
ever be collected for fepulture. The grandees 
were fo tranfported with indignation at this infa- 
mous barbarity, that they put to death a great 
part of the plebeians, and banimed the remainder. 
They reformed the government of the land, how- 
ever, into a popular ftate, and banimed the Ca- 
valieri as rebels. Not to purfue this relation to 
any greater length, it may be obferved in general, 
that this little hill maintained its independence for 
three hundred years, by the mutual jealoufies of 
Florence, Seina, and Perugia ; but it was by un- 
interrupted wars with one or the other of them, 
all in their turns feeking its alliance or fubjuga- 
tion, and all in their turns taking its part when 
in danger qf being fubdued by any one. This 
occafioned a continual vacillation of its friendmip 
and enmity with thofe cities, and conftant revolu- 

Spinello Bend. 207 

tions of government at home upon every change. 
There was no balance in their government by 
which parties or powerful individuals might be 
reftrained, and a few families were continually 
fcrambling for fuperiority. There were no no- 
bles by name, that is, there were no marquifies, 
counts, or barons ; but there were gentlemen and 
common people, and the gentlemen were called 
cavaliers, becaufe they could afford to keep a 
horfe, or at moft three horfes to each man. The 
family del Pecora was the principal one of thefe 
cavaliers, and theyenflaved their country of courfe, 
as the Medici did in Florence. Perhaps it may 
be faid, that in America we have no diftinctions of 
ranks, and therefore (hall not be liable to thofe 
divifions and difcords which fpring from them ; 
but have we not laborious yeomen, gentlemen, 
efquires, honourable gentlepien, and excellent 
gentlemen ? and are not thefe diftinftions eftab- 
lifhed by law ? have they not been eftablifhed by 
our anceftors from the firil plantation of the coun- 
try ? and are not thofe diftindions as earneftly de- 
fired and fought, as titles, garters, and ribbons 
re in any nation of Europe ? We may look as 
wife, and moralize as gravely as we will ; we may 
call this defire of diftin&iori childifh and filly ; 
but we cannot alter the nature of men : human* 
nature is thus childifh and filly ; and its Author 
has made it fo, undoubtedly for wife purpofes ; 
and it is fetting ourfelves up to be wifer than 
Nature, and more philosophical than Providence, 
to cenfure it. All that we can fay in America is, 
that legal diftinctions, titles, powers, and privi- 
leges, are not hereditary ; but that the difpofition 
to artificial diftin&ions, to titles, and ribbons, and 
to the hereditary defcent of them, is ardent in 
America, we may fee by the inftitution.of the 




Cincinnati. There is not a more remarkable 
phenomenon in univerfal hiftory, nor in uni- 
verfal human nature, than this order. The 
officers of an army, who had voluntarily engag- 
ed in a fervice under the authority of the peo- 
ple 5 whofe creation and prefervation was upon 
the principle that the body of the people were 
the only fountain of power and of honour ; 
officers too as enlightened and as virtuous as ever 
ferved in any army ; the moment they had 
anfwered the end of their creation, inftituted 
titles and ribbons, and hereditary defcents, by 
their own authority only, without the confent or 
knowledge of the people, or their reprefentatives 
or legiflatures. If thefe gentlemen had been of 
opinion that titles and ribbons were neceflary in 
fociety to have been confident, they mould have 
taken meafures for calling conventions of the 
people, where it mould have been determined, 
firft, whether any fuch diftin&ion mould be intro- 
duced ; fecondly how many fuch orders ; thirdly, 
what number of individuals of each ; and laftly, 
there mould have been in convention a general 
election of noblemen for each of the thirteen flates* 
As great injuftice may be done by given too much 
honour to one, and too little to another, as by 
committing trefpafies upon property, or flanders 
upon reputations, the public good requires juf- 
tice in the diftribution of fame as well as fortune ; 
and the public, or fome tribunal erected by 
the public, can be alone competent to the de- 

As there is no inftance more parallel than this 
of Montepulciano, where the people who owned 
horfes agreed together to call themfelves cavaliers, 
and thus created a dlftincl: order in the (late, this 
opportunity has beea taken to make an obferva- 


Spine llo Bcnci. 209 

tion upon an inftitution, which ought not to be 
patted over in confidering the fubject of thefe 
letters. It is greatly to be wiihed that the officers 
would voluntarily difcontinue their focieties, and 
lay afide their eagles, which will do them, as well 
as the community, much more hurt than good : 
they have already excluded many excellent men 
from places in civil life, to which their merit in 
other refpeds entitled them ; they have excited 
difputes which are very pernicious j they arc 
founded on no principle of morals, true policy, or 
our own conftitution. 


The right Conftitution of a Commonwealth- examined. 

Dear Sir, 

THE Englifh nation, for their improvements 
in the theory of government, has, at leaft, 
more merit with the human race than any other 
among the moderns. The late mod beautiful 
and liberal fpeculations of many writers, in va- 
rious parts of Europe, are manifeftly derived 
from Englifh fources. Americans too ought for 
*ever to acknowledge their obligations to Englifh 
writers, or rather have as good a right to in- 
dulge a pride in the recollection of them as the 
inh abitants of the three kingdoms. The original 
plantation of our country was occafioned, her 
continual growth has been promoted, and her 
VOL. III. E e prefent 

2 1 o The right Conjlitution of a 

prefent liberties have been eftablifhed, by thefe 
generous theories. There have been three pe- 
riods in thehiftory of England, in which the prin- 
ciples of government have been anxiouily ftudied, 
and very valuable productions published, which 
at this day, if they are not wholly forgotten in their 
native country are perhaps more frequently read 
abroad than at home. The firft of thefe ^periods 
was that of the Reformation, as early as the writ- 
ings of Machiavel himfelf, who is called the great 
reftorer of the true politics. " The Shorte Treatife 
" of Polticke Power, and of the true Obedience 
" which Subje&s owe to Kyngs and other civile 
" Governors, with an exhortation to all true natu- 
" ra! Englishmen, compyled by John Ponnet,D.D." 
was printed in 1556, and contains all the eflential 
principles of liberty which were afterwards dilat- 
ed on by Sidney and Locke. This writer is clearly 
for a mixed government, in three equiponderant 
branches, as appears by thefe words, p. 7. " In 
" fome countreyes they were content to be go- 
" verned, and have the laws executed, by one 
" king or judge ; in fome places by many of the 
" belt forte ; in fome places by the people of the 
ec lowed forte ; arid in fome places alfo by the 
" king, nobilitie, and the people all together. 
",And thefe diverfe kyndes of ftates, or policies 
" had their diftindte names ; as where one ruled a 
" manarchie ; where many of the beft, arido- 
" cratie ; and where the multitude, democratic ; 
" and where ail together, that is a king, the no- 
" bilitie, and commons, a mixture (late ; and which 
" men by long continuance have judged to be the 
" bell fort of all : for where that mixture ftate was 
<c exercifed, there did the commonwealthe longed 
4C continue." The fecond period was the Inter- 
regnum, and indeed the whole interval between 


; < .'. *\ 

Commonwealth, examined. 2 1 1 

1640 and 1660. In the'courfe of thofe twenty 
years, not only Ponnet and others were reprinted, 
but Harrington, Milton, the Vindiciae contra 
Tyrannos, and a multitude of others, came upon 
the flage. The third period was the Revolution in 
1688, which produced Sidney, Locke, Hoadley, 
Trenchard Gordon, Plato Redivivus, who is alfo 
clear for three equipollent branches in the mixture, 
and others without number. The difcourfes of 
Sidney were indeed written before, but the fame 
caufes produced his writings and the Revolution. 
Americans mould make collections of all thefe 
fpeculations, to be preferved as the mod precious 
relics of antiquity, both for curiofity and ufe. 
There is one indifpenfabie rule to be obferved in 
the perufal of all of them ; and that is, to confider 
the period in which they were written, the circurn- 
flances of the times, and the perfonal character as 
well as the political fituation of the writer. Such 
a precaution as this deferves particular attention 
in examining a work, printed firft in the Mercu- 
rius Politicus, a periodical paper publifhed in 
defence of the commonwealth, and reprinted in 
1656, by Marchamont Nedham, under the title 
of " The Excellency of a free State, or the right 
" Conflitution of a Commonwealth." The na- 
tion had not only a numerous nobility and clergy 
at that time difgufted, and a vaft body of the 
other gentlemen, as well as of the common peo- 
ple, defirous of the reftoration of the exiled 
royal family, but many writers explicitly efpouf- 
ed the caufe of fimple monarchy and abfolute 
power : among whom was Hobbes, a man, how- 
ever unhappy in his temper, or deteftable for his 
principles, equal in genius and learning to any of 
his contemporaries. Others were employed .in 
ridiculing the do&rine, that laws, and not men, 


212 . The right Conftitution of a 

fhould govern. It was contended, that to fay 
" that laws do or can govern, is to amufe our- 
* e felves with a form of fpecch, as when we fay 
" time, or age, or death, does fuch a thing. 
<c That the government is not in the law, but in 
c< the perfon whofe will gives a being to that law. 
" That the perfection of monarchy confifts in go- 
" verningby a nobility, weighty enough to keep 
" the people under, yet not tall enough, in any 
" particular perfon, to meafure with the prince ; 
cc and by a moderate army, kept up under the 
cc notion of guards and. garrifons, which may be 
cc fufficient to (bangle all feditions in the cradle ; 
by councils, not fuch as are co-ordinate with 
the prince, but purely of advice and difpatch, 
with power only to perfuade, not limit, the 
prince's will*-" In fuch a fituation, writers on 
the fide of liberty thought themfelves obliged to 
confider what was then practicable, not abftracted- 
ly what was the beft : they felt the neceffity of 
leaving the monarchical and ariftocratical orders 
out of their fchemes of government, becaufe all 
the friends of thofe orders were their enemies, and 
pf addrefling themfelves wholly to the democra- 
tical party, becaufe they alone were their friends ; 
at leaft there appears no other hypothecs on 
which to acconnt for the crude conceptions of 
Milton and Nedham. The latter, in his preface, 
difcovers his apprehenfions and feelings, too 
clearly to be miftaken, in thefe words : " I be- 
66 lieve none will be offended with this following 
" difcourfe, but thofe that are enemies to public 
" welfare : let fuch be offended ftill ; it is not for 
" their fakes that I publiih this enfuing treatife, 

** See the political pamphlets of that day, written on the 
fide of monarchy. 


Commonwealth, examined. 2,1 ft 

" but for your fakes that have been noble patriots 9 
" felhiV'foldiers and fufferers for the liberties and 
" freedoms of your country." As Mr. Turgot's 
idea. of a commonwealth, in which all authority 
is to be collected into one centre, and that 
centre the nation, is fuppofed to be precifely the 
project of Marchamont Nedham, and probably 
derived from his book, and as " The Excellency of 
" a free State" is a valuable morfel of antiquity well 
known in America, where it has many partifans, 
it may be worth while to examine it, efpecially as 
it contains every femblance of argument which 
can poffibly be urged in favour of the fyftem, as it 
is not only the popular idea of a republic both in 
France and England, but is generally intended by 
the words republic ', commonwealth, and popular Jlate, 
when ufed by Englifh writers, even thofe of the 
moft'fenfe, tafte, and learning. 

Marchamont Nedham lays it down as a funda- 
mental principle, and an undeniable rule, " that 
" the people, that is, fuch as mail be fucceffively 
" chofen to reprefent the people, are the beft 
" keepers of their own liberties, and that for 
" many reafons : Firft, becaufe they never think 
" of ufurping over other men's rights, but mind 
" which way to preferve their own." 

Our firft attention mould be turned to the pro- 
pofition itfelf, " The people are the beft keepers 
" of their own liberties." But who are the peo- 
ple ? " Such as mall be fucceffively chofen to re- 
" prefent them." Here is a confufion both of 
words and ideas, which, though it may pafs with 
the generality of readers in a fugitive pamphlet, 
or with a majority of auditors in a popular ha- 
rangue, ought, for that very reafoii, 'to be as 
carefully avoided in politics as it is in philofophy 
or mathematics. Jf by the people is meant the 


214 T&e right Conftitution of a 

whole body of a great nation, it fhould never be 
forgotten, that they can never aft, confult, or rea- 
fon together, becaufe they cannot march- five 
hundred miles, nor fpare the time, nor find a fpace 
to meet ; and therefore the propofition, that they 
are the beffc keepers t)f their own liberties, is not 
true. They are the worft conceiveable ; they are 
no keepers at all : they can neither ad:, judge, 
think, or will, as a body politic or corporation. 
If by the people is meant all the inhabitants of 
a fmgle city, they are not in a general afiembly, 
at all times, the beft keepers of their own liberties, 
nor perhaps at any time, unlefs you feparate 
from them the executive and judicial power, and 
temper their authority in legiilation with the ma- 
turer councils of the one and the few. If it is 
meant by the people, as our author explains him- 
felf, a reprefentative affembly, " fuch as (hall be 
" fucceflively chofen to reprefent the people," 
they are not ftill the beft keepers of the people's 
liberties, or their own, if you give them all the 
power, legiflative, executive, and judicial : they 
would invade the liberties of the people, at leaft 
the majority of them would invade the liberties of 
the minority, fooner and oftener than an abfolute 
monarchy, fuch as that of France, Spain, or Ruf- 
fia, or than a well-checked arifbocracy, like Ve- 
nice, Bern, or Holland. An excellent writer has 
faid, fomewhat incautioufly, .that " a people will 
" never opprefs themfelves, or invade their own 
" rights/' This compliment, if applied to hu- 
man nature, or to mankind, or to any nation or 
people in being or in memory, is more than has 
been merited. If it mould be admitted, that a 
people will not unanimoufly agree to opprefs 
themfelves, it is as much as is ever, and more 
than is always, true. All kinds of experience 


Commonwealth, examined. 215 

fhew, that great numbers of individuals do opprefs 
great numbers of other individuals ; that parties 
often, if not always, opprefs other parties ; and 
majorities almoft univerfally minorities. AH 
that this obfervation can mean then, confidently 
with any colour of fact, is, that the people will 
never unanimoufly agree to opprefs themfelves : 
but if one party agrees to opprefs another, or the 
majority the minority, the people (till opprefs 
themfelves, for one part of them opprefs another. 
" The people never think of ufurping over 
" other men's rights. " What can this mean ? 
Does it mean that the people never unanimoufly 
think of ufurping over other men's rights ? This 
would be trifling, for there would, by the fuppo- 
iition, be no other men's rights to ufurp. But 
if the people never jointly, nor feverally, think o,f 
ufurping the rights of others, what occafion can 
there be for any government at all ? Are there no 
robberies, burglaries, murders, adulteries, thefts, 
nor cheats ? Is not every crime an ufurpation 
over other men's rights ? Is not a great part, I 
will not fay the greateft part, of men detected 
every day in fome difpofition or other, ftronger or 
weaker, more or lefs, to ufurp over other men's 
rights ? There are fome few, indeed, whofe whole 
lives and conversations fhow, that in every 
thought, word, and action, they confcientiouily 
refpect the rights of others : there is a larger 
body (till, who, in the general tenor of their 
thoughts and actions, difcover fimilar principles 
and feelings, yet frequently err. If we fliould 
extend our candour fo far as to own that the ma- 
jority of men are generally under the dominion of 
benevolence and good intentions, yet it muft be 
confefled that a vaft majority frequently tranfgrefs ; 
and, what is more directly to the point, not only a 


216 The right Conftitutiort of a 

majority, but almoft all, confine their benevolence" 
to their families, relations, perfonal friends, parifh, 
village, city, county, province, and that very few 
indeed extend it impartially to the whole commu- 
nity. Now grant but this truth, and the queftion 
is decided : if a majority are capable of preferring 
their own private intereft, or that of their families, 
counties, and party, to that of the nation collec- 
tively, fome provifion muft be made in the con- 
flitution, in favour of juftice, to compel all to 
refpect the common right, the public good, the 
univerfal law, in preference to all private and par- 
tial confiderations. 

The propofition of our author then mould be 
reverfed, and it mould have been faid, that they 
mind fo much their own, that they never think 
enough of others. Suppofe a nation, rich and 
poor, high and low, ten millions in number, all 
affembled together ; not more than one or two 
millions will have lands, houfes, or any perfonal 
property : if we take into the account the women 
and children, or even if we leave them out of the 
queftion, a great majority of every nation is 
wholly deftitute of property, except a fmall quan- 
tity of clothes, and a few trifles of other move- 
ables. Would Mr. Nedham be refponfible that, 
if all were to be decided by a vote of the majority, 
the eight or nine millions who have no property, 
would not think of ufurping over the rights of 
the one or two millions who have ? Property is 
furely a right of mankind as really as liberty. 
Perhaps, at firft, prejudice, habit, fhame, or fear, 
principle or religion, would reftrain the poor from 
attacking the rich, and the idle from ufurping on 
the induilrious ; but the time would not be long 
before courage and enterprize would come, and 
pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance 


Commonwealth, examined. 217 

the majority in dividing all the property among 
them, or at leaft in fharing it equally with, its pfe* 
fent polfeflbrs. Debts would be aboliflied firft ; 
taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the 
others ; and at laft a downright equal divifion of 
every thing be demanded a and voted. What 
would be the confequence of this ? The idle, the 
vicious, the intemperate, would rufh into the 
utmoft extravagance of debauchery, fell and fpend 
all their fhare, and then demand a new diyifion of 
thofe who purchafed from them. The moment 
the idea is admitted into fociety^ that property is 
not as facred as the laws of God, and that there is 
not a force of law and public juftice to protect it, 
anarchy and tyranny commence. If " THOU 


" STEAL," were not commandments- of Heaven, 
they muft be made inviolable precepts in every 
fociety before it can be civilized or made free. 
If the firft part of the proportion, viz. that " the 
" people never think of ufurping over other 
" men's rights," cannot be admitted, is the fe- 
cond, viz. that " they mind which way to pre- 
" ferve their own," better founded ? -There is 
in every nation and people under heaven a large 
proportion of perfons who take no rational and 
prudent precautions to preferve what they have, 
much lefs to acquire more. Indolence is the 
natural character of man, to fuch a degree,, that 
nothing but the neceffities of hunger, thirft, and 
other wants equally prefling, can ftimulate him 
to action, until education is introduced in civili- 
zed focieties, and the ftrongeft motives of ambi- 
tion to excel- in arts, trades and profeffions, 
are eftablifhed in the minds of all men : until this 
emulation is introduced, the lazy favage holds 
property in tpo little eftiination to give himfelf 
VOL. III. F f trouble 

gffi. u 

ft 4 

2i 8 The right Conftitution of a 

trouble for the prefervation or acquifition of it. 
In focieties the mod cultivated and polifhed, 
vanity, fafhion, and folly, prevail over every 
thought of ways to preferve their own : they feem 
rather chiefly to ftudy what means of luxury, dif- 
fipation and extravagance, they can invent to get 
rid of it. " The cafe is far otherwife among 
" kings and grandees," fays our author, " as all 
" nations in the world have felt to fome purpofe ;" 
that is, in other words, kings and grandees think 
of ufurping over other men's rights, but do not 
mind which way to preferve their own. It is 
very eafy to flatter the democratical portion of 
fociety, by making fuch 'diflindlions between them 
an'd the monarchical and ariftocratical ; but flat- 
tery is as bafe an artifice, and as pernicious a vice, 
when offered to the people, as when given to the 
others. There is no reafon to believe the one much 
honefter or wifer than the other ; they are all of 
the fame clay, their minds and bodies are alike. 
The two latter have more knowledge and fagacity 
derived from education, and more advantages for 
acquiring wifdom and virtue. As to ufurping 
others rights, they are all three equally guilty 
when unlimited in power : no wife man will truft 
either with an opportunity ; and every judicious 
legiflator will fet ail three to watch and controul 
each other. We may appeal to every page of 
hiftory we have hitherto turned over, for proofs 
irrefragable, that the people when they have been 
unchecked, have been as unjuft, tyrannical, brutal, 
barbarous, and cruel, as any king or fenate pof- 
feffed of uncontroulable power : the majority 
has eternally, and without one exception, ufurped 
over the rights of the minority. " They naturally 
" move," fays Nedham, " within the circle of 
" domination as in their proper centre." When 


Commonwealth i examined. 219 

writers on legiflation have recourfe to poetry, their 
images may be beautiful, but they prove nothing. 
This, however, has neither the merit of a brilliant 
figure, nor of a convincing argument : the popu- 
lace, the rabble, the canaille, move as naturally in 
the circle of domination, whenever they dare, as 
the nobles or a king ; nay, although it may give 
pain, truth and experience force us to add, that 
even the middling people, when uncontrouled, 
have moved in the fame circle, and have not only 
tyrannized over all above and all below, bufc 
the majority among themfelves has tyrannized 
over the minority. " And count it no lefs 
ct fecurity, than wifdom and policy, to brave it 
* c over the people." Declamatory flourimes, 
although they may furnifh a mob with watch- 
words, aiFord no reafonable conviction to the 
underftanding. What is meant by braving it ? In 
the hiftory of Holland you will fee the people 
braving it over the De Witts ; and in that of Flo- 
rence, Siena, Bologna, Pifloia, and the reft", over 
many others*. " Csefar, CrafTus, and another, 
" made a contract with each other, that nothing 
" fhould be done without the concurrence of all 
<c three ; Societatem iniere, nequid ageretur in 
<c republica, quod difplicuiflet ulli, e tribus." 
Nedham could not have felected a lefs fortunate 
example for his purpofe,' fmce there never was a 
more arrant creature of the people than Csefar ; 
no, not even Catiline, Wat Tyler, Maffianello, or 
Shafe. The people created Csefar on the ruins of 
the fenate, and on purpofe to ufurp over the 
rights of others. But this example, among innu- 
merable others, is very appofite for our purpofe. 
It happens univerfally, when the people i,n a body, 

* Read the Harangue, vol. ii. p. 67. 


220 The right Conjlitutlon of a 

or by a fingle representative aflembly, attempt to 
exercife all the powers of government, they always 
create three or four idols, who make a bargain 
with each other firft, to do nothing which fhall 
difpleafe any one : thefe hold this agreement, until 
one thinks himfelf able to difembarrafs himfelf of 
the other two ; then they quarrel, and the ftrongeft 
becomes fingle tyrant. But why is the name of 
Pompey omitted, who was the third of this trium- 
virate ? Becaufe it would have been too unpopu- 
lar ; it would have too eafily confuted his argu- 
ment, and have turned it againft himfelf, to have 
faid that this aflbciation was between Pompey, 
Cadar, and Craiius, againft Cato, the fenate, the 
conftitution and liberty, which was thefacl:. Can 
you find a people who will never be divided in 
opinion ? who will be always unanimous ? The 
people of Rome were divided, as all other people 
ever have been and will be, into a variety of par- 
ties and factions. Pompey, CrafTus, and Caefar, 
at the head of different parties, were jealous of 
each other : their divifions ilrengthened the fenate 
and its friends, and furni/hed means and oppor- 
tunities of defeating many of their ambitious 
defigns. Caefar perceived it, and paid his court 
both to Pompey and CrarTus, in order to hinder 
them from joining the fenate againft him. He 
feparately reprefented the advantage which their 
enemies derived from their mifunderftandings, 
and the eafe with which, if united, they might 
concert among themfelves all affairs of the repub- 
lic, gratify every friend, and difappoint every 
enemy*. The other example, of Auguftus, Le- 
pidus, and Antony, is equally unfortunate : both 

* Dio. Caff. lib. xxxvii. c. 54, 55. Plutarch in Pomp, 
Csefar, & Craffus. 


Commonwealth, examined. 221 

are deinonftrations that the peopk did think of 
ufurping others rights, and that they did not 
mind any way to preferve their own. The fenate 
was now annihilated, many of them murdered : 
Auguftus, Lepidus, and Antony, were popular 
demagogues, who agreed together to fleece the 
flock between them, until the moft cunning of 
the three deftroyed the other two, fleeced the 
fheep alone, and tranfmitted the (hears to a line of 
tyrants. How can this writer fay then, that, 
u while the government remained untouched in 
" the people's hands, every particular man liv~d 
66 iafe ?" The dired contrary is true. Every 
man lived fafe, only while the fenate remained as 
a check and balance to the people : the moment 
that controul was deftroyed, no man was fafe. 
While the government remained untouched in the ' 
various orders, the confuls, fenate, and people, 
mutually balancing each other, it might be faid, 
with fome truth, that no man could be undone, 
unlefs a true and fatisfadory reafon was rendered 
to the world for his deftrudion : but as foon as the 
fenate was deftroyed, and the government came 
untouched into the people's hands, no man lived 
fafe but the triumvirs and their tools ; any man 
might be, and multitudes of the beft men were, 
undone, without rendering any reafon to the 
world for their deftrudion, but the will, the fear, 
or the revenge of fome tyrant. Thefe popular 
leaders, in our author's own language, " laved 
" and deftroyed, depreffed and" advanced, whom 
" they pleafed, with a wet finger/ '< 

The fecond argument to prove that the people, 
in their fucceflive fmgle afiemblies, are the beft 
keepers of their own liberties, is, " becaufe it is 
" ever the people's care to fee that authority be 


222 The right Conflltutlon of a 

" fo constituted, that it mould be rather a burthen 
" than profit to thofe that undertake it ; and 
" be qualified with fuch flender advantages of 
" profit or pleafure, that men mall reap little 
* c by the enjoyment. The happy confequence 
" whereof is this, that none but honeft, generous, 
" and public fpirits, will then defire to be in au- 
" thority, and that only for the common good. 
" Hence it was, that in the infancy of the Roman 
" liberty there was no canvafling for voices ; but 
" fmgle and plain-hearted men were called, in- 
" treated, and in a manner forced with impor- 
" tunity to the helm of government, in regard 
" of that great trouble and pains that followed 
<c , the employment. Thus Cincinnatus was fetch- 
<c ed out of the field from his plow, and placed, 
<c much againft his will, in the fublime dignity of 
"dictator: fo the noble Camillus, and Fabius, 
" and Curius, were, with much ado, drawn from 
<c the recreation of gardening to the trouble of 
<c governing ; and the conful year being over, 
tc they returned with much gladnefs again to 
" their private employment." 

The firft queftion which would arife in the mind 
of an intelligent and attentive reader would 
be, whether this were burlefque, and a republic 
travefty ? But as the principle of this fecond 
reafon is very pleafing to a large body of narrow 
fpirits in every fociety, and as it has been adopt- 
ed by fome refpe&able authorities, without fuffi- 
cient confideration, it may be proper to give it a 
ferious investigation. 

The people have, in fome countries and feafons, 
made their (ervices irkfome ; and it is popular 
with fome to make authority a burthen. But 
what has been the confequence to the people ? 
Their fervice has been defeated, and they have 


Commonwealth , examined. 223 

been betrayed. Thofe very perfons who have 
flattered the meannefs of the ftingy, by offering 
to ferve them gratis, and by purchasing their 
fuffrages, have carried the liberties and proper- 
ties of their conftituents to market, and fold them, 
for very handfome private profit to the mo- 
narchical and ariftocratical portions of fociety : 
and fo long as the rule of making their fervice a 
burthen is perfifted in, fo long will the people be 
ferved with the fame kind of addrefs and fidelity, 
by hypocritical pretences to difinterefted benevo- 
lence and patriotifm, until their confidence is 
gained, their affections fecured, and their enthu- 
iiafm excited, and by knavifh bargains and fales 
of their caufe and intereft afterwards. But al- 
though there is always among the people a party 
who are juftly chargeable with meannefs and .ava- 
rice, envy and ingratitude, and this party has 
fometimes been a majority, who have literally 
made their fervice burthenfome, yet this is not 
the general character of the people ; a more 
univerfal fault is, too much affection, confidence, 
and gratitude, not to fuch as really ferve them, 
whether with or againfl their inclinations, but to 
thofa who flatter their inclinations, and gain their 
hearts. Honed and generous fpirits will difdain 
to deceive the people. ; and if the public fervice 
is wilfully rendered burthenfome, they will really 
be averfe to be in it : but hypocrites enough 
will be found, who will pretend to be alfo loath 
.to ferve, and feign a reluctant confent for the 
public good, while they mean to plunder in every 
way they can. conceal. There are conjunctures 
when it is the duty of a good citizen to hazard 
and facrifice all for his country : but, in ordinary 
times, it is equally the duty and intereft of the 
community not to fuffer it. Every wife and free 



The right Conjiitution of a 

people, like the Romans, will eftablifti the 
maxim, to fufier no generous a&ion for the public 
to go unrewarded. Can our author be fuppofed 
to be fincere, in recommending it as a principle of 
policy to any nation to render her fervice in the 
army, navy, or in council, a burthen, an un- 
pleafant employment, to all her citizens ? Would 
he depend upon finding human fpirits enough to 
fill public offices, who would be fufficiently 
elevated in patriotifm an.d general benevolence to 
facrifice their eafe, health, time, parents, wives, 
children, and every comfort, convenience, and 
elegance of life, for the public good ? Is there any 
religion or morality that requires this ? which 
permits the many to live in affluence and eafe, 
while it obliges a few to live in mifery for their 
fakes ? The people are fond of calling public men 
their fervants, and foine are not able to conceive 
them to be fervants, without making them flaves, 
and treating them as planters treat their negroes. 
But, good mafters, have a care how you ufe your 
power : you may be tyrants as well as public 
officers. It feems, according to our author him- 
felf, that honefly and generofity of fpirit, and the 
paffion of the public good, were not motives 
ftrong enough to induce his heroes to defire to be 
in public life : they muft be called, intreated, and 
forced by fmgle and plain-hearted men, he 
means the fame, no doubt, with thofe defcribed by 
.the other expreffions, honeft, generous, and pub- 
lic fpirits. Cincinnatus, Cammillus, Fabiu?, and 
Curius, were men as fimple and as generous as 
any ; and thefe all, by his own account, had a 
ftrong averfion to the public fervice. Either 
thefe great characters mud be fuppofed to have 
.pra&ifed the Nolo Epifcopari, to have held up a 
fi&itious averfion for what they really defired, or 


Commonwealth, examined* ' 225 

we muft allow their reluctance to have been fin- 
cere. If counterfeit, thefe examples do not de- 
ferve our imitation ; if fmcere, they will never be 
followed by men enough to carry on the bufmefs 
of the world. The glory of thefe Roman charac- 
ters cannot be obfcured, nor ought the admora- 
tion of their fublime virtues to be diminimed ; 
but fuch examples are as rare among ftatefmen, as 
Homers and Miltons among poets. A free peo- 
ple of common fenfe will not depend upon rinding 
a fufficient number of fuch characters at any one 
time, but lefs a fucceflion of them for any long 
duration, for the fupport of their liberties. To 
make a law, that armies mould be led, fenates 
counselled, negociations conducted, by none but 
fuch characters, would be to decree that the bufl- 
nefs of the world mould come to a full (land : 
and it muft have flood as ftill in thofe periods of 
the Roman hiftory as at this hour ; for fuch cha- 
racters were nearly as fcarce then as they are now. 
The parallels of Lyfander, Pericles, Themifto- 
cles, and Csefar, are much eafier to find in hiftory, 
than thofe of Camillus, Fabius, and Curius. If 
the latter were with much difficulty drawn from 
their gardens to government, and returned with 
pleafure at the end of the confular year to their 
rural amufements ; the former are as ardent to 
continue in the public fervice, and if the public 
will not legally reward them, they plunder the 
public to reward themfelves. The father of 
Themiftocles had more averfion to public life 
than Cincinnatus ; and, to moderate the propen- 
fity of his fon, who ardently afpired to the higheft 
offices of the (tare, pointed to the old gallies roll- 
ing in the docks " There," fays he, " fee the 
" old ftatefmen, worn out in the fervice of their 
" country, thus always neglected when no longer 
VOL. III. G g "of 

226 The right Conftitution of a 

" of ufe* !" Yet the fon's ardour was not abated, 
though he was not one of thofe honeft fpirits that 
aimed only at the public good. Pericles too, 
though his fortune was fmall, and the honeft emo- 
luments of his office very moderate, difcovered no 
fuch averfion to the fervice : on the contrary, he 
entered into an emulation in prodigality with 
Cimon, who was rich, in order equally to dazzle 
the eyes of the multitude. To make himfelf the 
foul of the republic, and mafter of the affedions 
of the populace, to enable the.m to attend the pub- 
lic aflemblies and theatrical reprefentations 
for his purpofes, he lavifhed his donations : yet 
he was fo far from being honeft and generous, 
and aiming folely at the public good, that he 
availed himfelf of the riches of the ftate to fupply 
his extravagance of expence, and made it au 
invariable maxim to . facrifice every thing to his 
own ambition. When the public finances were 
exhaufted, to avoid accounting for the public 
money, he involved his country in a war with 
Sparta. ; 

But we muft not rely upon thefe general ob- 
fervations alone : let us defcend to a particular 
confideration of our author's examples, in every 
one of which he is very unfortunate. The re- 
tirement of Cincinnatus to the country was not his 
choice, but his neceffity : Csefo, his fon, had 
offended the people by an outrageous oppofition 
to their honeft ftruggles for liberty, and had 
been fined for a crime ; the father, rather than 
let his bondfmen fuffer, paid the forfeiture of his 
recognizance, reduced himfelf to poverty, and the 
neeelTity of retiring to his fpade or plough. Did 
the people intreat and force him back to Rome ? 

* Plutarch. 

No ; 

Commonwealth, examined. 227 

No ; it was the fenatein oppofition to the people, 
who dreaded his high ariftocraticr-1 principles, his 
powerful connections, and perfonal refentments. 
Nor did he difcover the lead reludance to the 
fervice ordained him by the fenate, but accepted 
it without hefitation. All this appears in Livy, 
clearly contradictory to every fentiment of our 
author*. At another time, when difputes ran fo 
high between the tribunes and the fenate that 
feditions were apprehended, the fenators exerted 
themfelves in the centuries for the election of 
Cincinnatus, to the great alarm and terror of the 
people f. Cincinnatus, in fhort, although his 
moral character and private life were irreproach- 
able among the plebeians, appears to have owed 
his appointments to office, not to them, but 
the fenate ; and not for popular qualities, but 
for ariftocratic ones, and the determined op- 
pofitions of himfelf and his whole family to the 
people. He appears to have been forced into 
fervice by no party ; but to have been as wil- 
ling, as he was an able, inftrument of the fenate. 
In order to fee the inaptitude of this' example 
in another point of view, let the queftion be 
afked, What would have been the fortune of 
Cincinnatus, if Nedham's " right conftitution" 
had then been the government of Rome ? The 
anfwer muft be, that he would have loft his 
election, moft probably even into the repre- 
fentative afiembly : moft certainly he would 

* Plebis concurfus ingens fuit : fed ea nequaquam, tarn 
laeta Quintium vidit ; et imperil nimirum, et virum, in Jpfo 
imperio vehementiorem rata. Liv. lib. iii. c. 1 6. 
. f Summo patrum ftudio, L. Quintius Cincinnatus, pater 
Caefonis, conful creatur, qui magiitratum ftatim acciperet, 
perculfa erat plebs confulem habitura, iratum, potentem 
favore patrum, virtute fua, tribus liberis, &c. 


228 The right Conftitution of a 

never have been^conful, dictator, or commander 
of armies, becarule he was unpopular. This ex- 
ample, then, is no argument in favour of our au^ 
thor, but a ftrong one againft him. 

If we recoiled the charader and actions of 
Curius, we mail find them equally conclufive in 
favour of balanced government, and againft our 
authors plan. M. Curius Dentatus, in the year 
of Rome 462, obtained as conful a double tri* 
umph, for forcing the Samnites to fue for peace. 
This nation, having their country laid wafte, fent 
their principal men as ambaffadors, to offer pre- 
fents to Curius for his credit with the fenate, 
in order to their obtaining favourable terms of 
peace. They found him fitting on a' ftool before 
the fire, in his little houfe ih the country, and 
eating his dinner out of a wooden dim. They 
opened .their deputation, and offered him the 
gold and filver. He anfwered them politely, but 
refufed the prefents*. He then added fomewhat, 
which at this day does not appear fo very polifhed : 
" I think it glorious to command the owners of 
" gold, riot to poffefs it myfelf." And which 
pailion do you think is the wprft, the love of 
gold, or this pride and ambition ? His whole 
eftate was feven acres of land, and he faid'once in 
affembly, " that a man who was not contented 
" with feven acres of land, was a pernicious citi- 
" zen." As we pafs, it may be proper to remark 
the difference of times and circumftances. How 
few in Ajnerica could efcape the cenfure of per- 
nicious citizens if Curius's rule were eftablifhed. 
Is there one of our yeomen contented with feven 
acres ? How many are difcontented with feventy 

* Val. Max. iv. i., Cic de Senec. 55. Senec. Epift. v. 
Cic. pro Flacco, 28. Plin. Nat. xviii. 2. 


Commonwealth, examined. 229 

times feven ! Examples, then, drawn from times of 
extreme poverty, and a ftate of a very narrow ter- 
ritory, mould be applied to our circumftances 
with great difcretion. As long as the ariftocra- 
cy lafted, a few of thofe rigid chara&ers appear- 
ed from time to time in the Roman fenate. 
Cato was one to the laft, and went exprefsly to 
vifit the houfe of Curius, in the country of the 
Sabines : was never weary of viewing it, contemp- 
lating the virtues of its ancient owner, and defiring 
warmly to imitate them. But though declamatory 
writings might call the conduct of Curius " exac- 
" tiffima Romanse frugalitatis norma," it was not 
the general character, even of the fenators, at that 
time : avarice raged like a fiery furnace in the 
minds of creditors, mod of whom were patricians ; 
and equal avarice and injuftice in the minds of 
plebeians, who, inftead of aiming at moderating 
the laws againfl debtors, would be content with 
nothing mort of a total abolition of debts. Only 
two years after this, viz. in 465, fo tenacious 
were the patricians and fenators of all the ri- 
gour of their power over debtors, that Veturius, 
the fon of a conful, who had been reduced by 
poverty to borrow money at an exhorbitant in- 
tereft, was delivered up to his creditor ; and that 
infamous ufurer, C. Plodus, exacted from him all 
the fervices of a flave, and the fenate would grant 
no relief : and when he attempted to fubjecl: his 
flave to a brutal paflion, which the laws did not 
tolerate, and fcourged him with rods becaufe he 
would not fubmit, all the punifhment which the 
confuls and fenate would impofe on Plotius was 
imprifonment. This anecdote proves that the 
indifference to wealth was far from being general, 
either among patricians or plebeians ; and that it 
was confined to a few patrician families, whofe 


23 The right Conftltutlon of a 

tenacioufnefs of the maxims and manners of their 
anceftors proudly tranfmitted it from age to age. 
In 477 Curius was conful a fecond time, when 
the plague, and a war with Pyrrhus, had lafted fo 
long as to threaten the final ruin of the nation, 
and obliged the centuries to choofe a fevere charac- 
ter, not becaufe he was beloved, but becaufe his 
virtues and abilities alone could fave the Hate. 
The auftere character of the conful was accompa- 
nied by correfpondent aufterities, in this time of 
calamity, in the cenfors, who degraded feveral 
knights and fenators, and among the reft Rufinus, 
who had been twice conful and once dictator, 
for extravagance and luxury. Pyrrhus was de- 
feated, and Curius again triumphed : and becaufe 
a continuance of the war with Pyrrhus was expect- 
ed, again elected conful, in 478. In 480 he was 
cenfor. After all, he was fo little beloved, that an 
accufation was brought againft him for having 
converted the public fpoils to his own ufe ; and 
he was not acquited till he had fworn that no 
part of them had entered his houfe but a wooden 
bowl, which he ufed in facrifice. All thefe 
fublime virtues, and magnanimous actions of 
Curius, make nothing in favour of Nedham. He 
was a patrician, a fenator, and a conful ; he had 
been taught by ariftocratical anceftors, formed in 
an ariftocratical fchool, and was full of ariftocra- 
tical pride. He does not appear to have been a 
popular man, either among the fenators in gene- 
ral, or the plebeians. Rufinus, his rival, with 
his plate and luxury, appears to have been more 
beloved, by his being appointed dictator : not- 
withftanding that the cenfors, on the prevalence 
of Curius's party, in a time of diftrefs, were able 
to difgrace Tiim. 


Commonwealth , examined. 231 


It was in 479 that the fenate received an em- 
bafiy from Ptolemy Philadelphia, king of Egypt, 
and fent four of the principal men in Rome, (^ 
Fabius Gurges, C. Fabius Piftor, Numer.Fabius 
Piftor, and (^ Ogulnius, ambafiadors to Egypt, 
to return the compliment. (^ Fabius, who was 
at the head of the embafiy, was prince of the 
fenate, and on his return reported their commif- 
fion to the fenate : faid that the king had received 
them in the moft obliging and honourable man- 
ner : that he had fent them magnificent prefents 
on their arrival, which they had defired him to 
excufe them from accepting : that at a feaft, 
before they took leave, the king had ordered 
crowns of gold to be given them, which they 
placed upon his ftatues the next day : that on the 
day of their departure the king had given them 
prefents far more magnificent than the former, 
reproaching them, in a moft obliging manner, for 
not having accepted them : thefe they had ac- 
cepted, with moft profound refpect, not to of- 
fend the king, but that, on their arrival in 
Rome, they had depofited them in the public 
treafury : that Ptolemy had received the alliance 
of the Roman people with joy. The fenate were 
much pleafed, and gave thanks to the ambafla- 
dors for having rendered the manners of the Ro- 
mans venerable to foreigners by their fmcere difin- 
tereftednefs : but decreed that the rich prefents de- 
pofited in the' treafury Jhould be reft or ed to them^ and 
the people exprefled their fatisfa&ion in this de- 
cree. Thefe prefents were undoubtedly immenfe- 
ly rich ; but where was the people's care to make 
the fervice a burthen ? Thanks of the fenate are no 
burthens ; immenfe prefents in gold and filver, 
voted out of the treafury into the hands of the 
ambafladors, were no " flender advantages of pro- 

" fit 

232 The right Conftitutlon of a 

" fit or pleafure," at a time when the nation was 
extremely poor, and no individual in it very rich. 
But, moreover, three of thefe ambaffadors were 
Fabii, of one of thofe few fimple, frugal, ariftocra- 
tical families, who neither made advantage of the 
law in favour of creditors, to make great profits 
out of the people by exorbitant ufury on one 
hand, nor gave lar-geifes to the people to bribe 
their affections on the other : fo that, although they 
were refpected and efteemed by all, they were not 
hated nor much beloved by any ; and fuch is 
the fate of men of fuch fimple manners at this day 
in all countries. Our author's great miftake lies 
in his quoting examples from a balanced govern- 
ment, as proofs in favour of a government with- 
out a balance. The fenate and people were at 
this time checks on each others avarice : the 
people were the electors in office, but none, till 
very lately, could be chofen but patricians ; none 
of the fenators, who enriched themfelves by plun- 
dering the public of lands or goods, or by extra- 
vagant ufury from the people, could expect their 
votes to be confuls or other magiftrates ; and 
there was no commerce or other means of enrich- 
ing themfelves : all, therefore, who were ambi- 
tious of ferving-in magiflracies, were obliged to 
be poor. To this conftant check and balance 
between the fenate and people the production 
and the continuance of thefe frugal and fimpie 
patrician characters and families appear to be 

If our author meant another affair of 453, it is 
ftill lefs to his purpofe, or rather ftill more con- 
clufively againft him. It was fo far from being 
true in the year 454, the mod fimple and frugal 
period of Roman hiltory, that " none but honed, 
" generous, and public fpirits defired to be in au- 

" thority, 

Commonwealth, axamined, 233 

" thority,and thai only for the common good," and 
that there " was no canvailing for voices," that the 
mod illuftrious Romans offered themfelves as 
candidates for the confulfhip ; and it was only the 
diftrefs and imminent danger of the city from the 
Etrurians and Samnites, and an univerfal alarm, 
that induced the citizens to caft their eyes on 
Fabius, who did not ftand. When he faw the 
fuffrages run for him, he arofe and fpoke : "Why 
" fhould he be folicited, an old man, exhaufted 
" with labours and fatiated with rewards, to take 
" the command I That neither the flrength of 
* c his body or mind were the fame. He dreaded 
" the caprice of fortune. Some divinity might 
" think his fuccefs too great, too conftant, too 
u much for any mortal. He had fucceeded to 
" the glory of his anceftors, and he faw himfelf 
" with joy fucceeded by others. That great 
" honours were not wanting at Rome to valour, 
" nor valour to honours*." It was extreme age, 
not the " flender advantages of honours," that oc- 
cafioned Fabius's difmclination, as it did that of 
Cincinnatus on another occafion. This refufal, 
however, only augmented the defire of having 
him. Fabius then required the law to be read, 
which forbad the re-eledion of a conful before 
ten years. The tribunes propofed that it fhould 
be difpenfed with, as all fuch laws in favour of 
rotations ever are when the people wifh it. Fa- 
bius afked why laws were made, if they were to 

* Quid fe jam fenem, ac perfun&um laboribus, laborunv- 
quc pracmiis, folicitarent ? Nee corporis, rvec anitni vigorem 
remanere eundem, et fortunam fpfam vereri, nc cui deorum 
tiimia jam in fe fortuna, et conftantior, quam velint humanse 
res, videatur. Et fe gloriae feniorum fuccreviffe, et ad glo- 
riam fuam confurgentes alios lastum adfpicere. Nee honorex 
magnosviris fortiffimis, Romse, nee honoribus deeffe fortes viros. 

VOL. III. H h be 

234 The right Conftitution of a 

be broken or difpenfed with by thofe who make 
them ; and declared that the laws governed no 
longer, but were governed by men*. The centu- 
ries, however, per fevered, and Fabius was chofen. 
" May the gods make your choice fuccefsful 1" 
fays the old hero ; difpofe of me as you will, 
Ct but grant me one favour, Decius for my col- 
* c league, a perfon worthy of his father and of 
" you, and one who will live in per f eft harmony 
" with me." There is no fuch flinginefs of ho- 
nours on the part of the people, nor any fuch re- 
luctance to the fervice for want of them, as our 
author pretends ; it was old age, and refpeft to the 
laws only : and one would think the fentiments and 
language of Fabius fufficiently ariftocratical ; his 
glory, and the glory of his anceftors and pofterity, 
feem to be uppermoft in his thoughts : and that 
difmtereft was not fo prevalent in general appears 
this very year, for a great number of citizens 
were cited by the JEdiles to take their trials for 
poflefling more land than the law permitted. All 
this rigour was neceflary to check the avidity of 
the citizens. But do you fuppofe Americans 
would make or futmit to a law to limit to 
a fmall number, or to any number, the acres 
of land which a man might poflefs ? Fabius 
fought, conquered, and returned to Rome to 
prefide in the election of the new confuls, and 
there appear circumftances which (how, that the 
great zeal for him was chiefly ariftocratical. The 
firft centuries, all ariftocratics, continued him. 
Appius Claudius, of confular dignity, and furely 
not one of our author's " honeft, generous, and 
" public fpirits," nor one of his " fingie and 
" plain-hearted men," but a warm, interefled, and 

* Jam regi leges, non regere. 


Commonwealth examined. . . 235 

ambitious man, offered himfelf a candidate, and em- 
ployed all his credit, and that of all the nobility, to 
be chofen conful withFabius,lefs,as he faid, for his 
private intereft, than for the honour of the whole 
body of the patricians, whom he was determined 
to re-eftabliih in the pofleflion of both confulfhips. 
Fabius declined, as the year before : but all the 
nobility furrounded his feat, and intreated him, to 
befure; but to do what? Why, to refcue the 
confulfiiip from the drugs and filth of the people, 
to reftore the dignity of conful, and the order 
of patricians, to their ancient ariftocratical fplen- 
dor Fabius appears indeed to have been urged 
into the office of conful ; but by whom ? By the 
patricians, and to keep out a plebeian. The 
lenate and people were checking each other : 
flruggling together for a point, which the patri- 
cians could carry in no way but by violating 
the laws, and forcing old Fabius into power. 
The tribunes had once given way, from the 
danger of -the times ; but this year they were 
not fo difpofed. The patricians were (till eager 
to repeat the irregularity ; but Fabius, although 
he declared he fhould be glad to aflift them in ob- 
taining two patrician confuls, yet he would not 
violate the law fo far as to nominate himfelf ; and 
no other patrician had intereft enough to keep out 
L. Volumnius the plebeian, who was chofen with 
Appius Claudius. Thus fa&s and events, which 
were evidently created by aftruggle between two 
orders in a balanced government, are adduced as 
proofs in favour of a government with only one 
order, and without a balance. 

Such fevere frugality, fuch perfect difmterefted- 
nefs in public characters, appears only, or at lead 
mod frequently, in ariftocratical governments, 
Whenever the conftitution becomes democratical, 


236 The right Conftitution of a 

fuch aufterities difappear entirely, or at lead lofe 
their influence, and the fuffrages of the people ; 
and if an unmixed and unchecked people ever 
choofe fuch men, it is only in times of diftrefs and 
danger, when they think no others can fave them : 
as foon as the danger is over they neglect thefe, 
and choofe others more plaufible and indulgent. 

There is fo much pleaiure in the contemplation 
of thefe characters, that we ought by no means to 
forget Camiilus. This great character was never 
a popular one : to the fenate and the patricians he 
owed his great employments, and feems to have 
been felected for the purpofe of oppofing the 

1 he popular leaders had no averfion, for them- 
felves or their families, to public honours and 
offices, with all their burthens. In 358 P. Lici- 
nius Calvus, the firft of the plebeian order who 
had ever been elected military tribune, was about 
to be re-elected, when he arofeand faid, " Ro- 
** mans, you behold only the fhadowof Licinius ; 
fic my flrength, hearing, memory, are all gone, 
** and the energy of my mind is no more ; fuffer 
" me to prefent my fon to you (and he held him 
<e by the hand) the living image of him whom 
fc you honoured firfl of all the plebeians with the 
* e office of military tribune. I devote him, edu- 
*? cated in my principles, to the commonwealth, 
" and mail be much obliged to you if you will 
" grant him the honour iri my ftead." Accord- 
ingly the fon was elected. The military tribunes 
conducted with great ardour and bravery, but 
were defeated, and Rome was in a panic, very 
artfully augmented by the patricians, to give a 
pretext for taking the command out of plebeian 
hands . Camiilus was created dictator by the fenate, 
and carried pn the war with fuch gtucjence, abili- 

Commonwealth, examined. 237 

ty, and fuccefs, that he faw the richeft city of 
Italy, that of Veil, was upon the point of falling 
into his hands with immenfe fpoils. He now felt 
himfelf embarrafied : if he divided the fpoils with 
a fparing hand among the foldiery, he would 
draw upon himfelf their indignation, and that of 
the plebeians in general ; if he diftributed them 
too generoufly, he mould offend the fenate : for, 
with all the boafted love of poverty of thofe times, 
the fenate and people, the patricians and ple- 
beians, as bodies, were perpetually wrangling 
about fpoils-, booty, and conquered lands ; which 
further (hews, that the real moderation was con- 
fined to a very few individuals or families. Ca- 
millus, to fpare himfelf reproach and envy, dic- 
tator as he was, wrote to the fenate, " that by the 
" favour of the gods, his own exertions, and the 
" patience of the foldiers, Veil would foon be in 
" his hands, and therefore he defired their direc- 
" tions what to do with the fpoils." The fenate 
were of two opinions : Licinius was for giving 
notice to all the citizens that they might go and 
fhare in the plunder ; Appius Claudius would 
have it all brought into the public treafury, or 
appropriated to the payment of the foldiers, which 
would eafe the people of taxes. Licinius replied, 
that if that money mould be brought to the trea- 
fury, it would be the caufe of eternal complaints, 
murmurs, and feditions. The latter advice pre- 
vailed, and the plunder was indifcriminate, for the 
city of Veii, after a ten years fiege, in which many 
commanders had been employed, was at lad taken 
by Camillus by ftratagem ; and the opulence of 
it appeared fo great, that the dictator was terrified 
at his own good fortune, and that of his country. 
He prayed the gods, if it muft be qualified with 
any difgrace, that it might fall upon him, not 
the commonwealth. This piety and patriotifm, 


238 The right Conftitution of a 

however, did not always govern Camillus : his tri- 
umph betrayed an extravagance of vanity more 
than bordering on profanenefs ; he had the arro- 
gance and prefumption to harnefs four whice 
horfes in his chariot, a colour peculiar to Jupiter 
and the Sun, an ambition more than Roman, 
more than human. Here the people were very 
angry with Camillus for having too little reverence 
for religion : the next moment they were ftill more 
incenfed againfl him for having too much, for he 
reminded them of the vow he had made to confe- 
crate a tenth part of the fpoils to Apollo. The 
people, in fhort, did not love Camillus ; and the 
fenate adored him becaufe he oppofed the multi- 
tude on all occafions, without any referve, and 
appeared the moft ardent and active in refitting 
their caprices. It was eafier to conquer enemies 
than to pleafe citizens*. This mighty ariftocra- 
tic grew fo unpopular, that one of the tribunes, 
accufed him before the jjeople of applying part of 
the fpoils of Veii to his own ufe ; and finding, 
upon confulting his friends, that he had no chance 
of acquittal, he went into voluntary banifhment 
at Ardea : but he prayed to the gods to make his 
ungrateful country regret his abfence. He was tried 
in his abfence, and condemned in a fine. Had Ned- 
ham's conftitution exifted at Rome,would Camillus 
have taken Veii, or been made dictator, or employed 
at all? Certainly not. Characters much nore plau- 
fible would have run him down, or have obliged 
him to imitate all their indulgences. 

In all thefe examples of Cincinnatus, Curius, 
Fabius, and Camiilus, &c. our author quotes 
examples of virtues which grew up only in a 
few ariftocratical families, were cultivated by the 

* Excellentibus ingenfis citius defuerit ars qua civem regant, 
tfuam qua hoilem fuperent. Liv. ii. 43. 


Commonwealth) examined. 239 

emulation between the two orders in the ftate, 
and by their druggies to check and balance each 
other, to prove the excellence of a ftate where 
there is but one order, no emulation, and no ba- 
lance. This is like the conduct of a poet, who 
Ihould enumerate the cheerful rays and refulgent 
glories of the fun in a defcription of the beauties 
of midnight. 

Whether fucceffion is, or is not, the grand pre- 
fervative againft corruption, the United States of 
America have adopted this author's idea in this 
" Reafon," fo far as to make the governor and 
fenate, as well as the houfe of reprefentatives, 
annually ele&ive. They have therefore a clear 
claim to his congratulations. They are that 
happy nation : they ought to rejoice in the wif- 
dom and juftice of their truftees ; for certaia 
limits and bounds are fixed to the powers in be- 
ing, by a declared fucceffion of the fupreme autho- 
rity annually in the hands of the people. 

It is (till, however, problematical, whether this 
fucceffion will be the grand prefervative againfl 
corruption, or the grand inlet to it. The elec- 
tions of governors and fenators are fo guarded, 
that there is room to hope ; bu$ if we recollect 
the experience of paft ages and other nations, 
there are grounds to fear. The experiment is 
made, and will have fair play. If corruption 
breaks in, a remedy muft be provided ; and what 
that remedy muft be is well enough known to 
every man who thinks. 

Our author's examples are taken from the Ro- 
mans, after the abolition of monarchy, while the 
government was an ariftocracy, in the hands of a 
fenate, balanced only by the tribunes. It is moft 
certainly true, that a {landing authority in the 


240 The right Conjlitution of a 

hands of one, the few, or the many, has an impe- 
tuous propenfity to corruption ; and it is to con- 
troul this tendency that three orders, equal 
and independent of each other, are contended for 
in the legiflature. While power was in the hands 
of a fenatej according to our author, the people 
were ever in danger of lofmg their liberty. It 
would be nearer the truth to fay, that the people 
had no liberty, or a very imperfect and uncertain 
liberty ; none at all before the inftitution of the 
tribunes, and but an imperfect mare afterwards ; 
becaufe the tribunes were an unequal balance to 
the fenate, and fo on the other fide were the con- 
fuls. " Sometimes in danger from kingly afpi- 
rers." But whofe fault was that ? The fenate had a 
fufficient abhorrence of fuch confpiracies : it was 
the people who encouraged the ambition of par- 
ticular perfons to afpire, and who became their 
partifans. Melius would have been made a king 
by the people, if they had not been checked by 
the fenate ; and fo would Manlius : to be con- 
vinced of this, it is neceflary only to recollect the 
flory. Spurius Melius, a rich citizen of the 
Equeftrian order, in the year before Chrift 437, 
and of Rome the 31 5th, a time of fcarcity and 
famine, afpire<f to the confulftiip. He bought 
a large quantity of corn in Etruria, and diftri- 
buted it among the people. Becoming by his 
liberality the darling of the populace, they attend- 
ed his train wherever he went, and promifed him 
the confulihip. Senfible, however, that the fena- 
tors, with, the whole Quintian family at their 
head, would oppofe him, he mult ufe force; and as. 
ambition is infatiable, and cannot be contented 
with what is attainable, he conceived that to ob- 
tain the fovereignty would cod him no more trou- 
ble than the confulfhip. The election came on, 


Commonwealth examined. 241 

and as he had not concerted all his meafures, 
T. Quintius Capitolinus and Agrippa Menonius 
Lanatus were chofen by the influence of the 
fenate. L. Minutius was continued prgefe&us 
annonse, or fuperintendent of provifions : his 
office obliged him to io in public the fame that 
Melius affected to do in private ; fo that the fame 
kind of people frequented the houfes of both. 
From them he learned the tranfactions at Me- 
lius's, and informed the fenate that arms were 
carried into his houfe, where he held afifem- 
blies, made harangues, and was taking meafures 
to make himfelf king ; and that the tribunes, cor- 
rupted by money, had divided among them the 
meafures neceifary to fecure the fuccefs of the 
enterprize. Quintius Capitolinus propofed a 
dictator, and Quintius Cincinnatus (for the Quin- 
tian family were omnipotent) was appointed. The 
earneft entreaties and warm remonftrances of the 
whole fenate prevailed on him to accept the truft, 
after having long refufed it, not from any re- 
luctance to public fervice, but on account of his 
great age, which made him believe himfelf inca- 
pable of it. Imploring the gods not to fuffer his 
age to be a detriment to the public, heconfented 
to be nominated, and immediately appointed 
Ahala mafler of the horfe, appeared fuddenly in 
the forum with his lictors, rods, and axes, afcend- 
ed the tribunal with all the enfigns of the fove- 9 
reign authority, and fent his matter of horfe to 
fummon Melius before him. Melius endeavour- 
ed in his firft furprize to efcape : a lictor feiz- 
ed him. Melius complained that he was to be 
facrificed to the intrigues of the fenate, for the 
good he had done the people. The people grew 
tumultuous : his partifans encouraged each other, 
and took him by force from the liclor. Melius,threw 
VOL. III. 1 i himfelf 

242 The right Conjlitution of a 

hitnfelf into the crowd : Servius followed him, run 
him threw with his fword, and returned, covered 
with his blood, to give an account to the dictator 
of what he had done. " You have done well," faid 
Cincinnatus ; " continue to defend your country 
" with the fame courage as you have now delivered 
" it Macle virtute efto liberata republica." 

The people being in great commotion, the dic- 
tator calls an aflembly, and pronounces Melius 
juftly killed. With all our admiration for the 
moderation and modefty, the fimplicity and fubli- 
mity of his character, it muft be confefled that 
there is in the harangue of Cincinnatus more of 
the ariftocratical jealoufy of kings and oligarchies, 
and even more of contempt to the people, than of 
a foul devoted to equal liberty, or poiTeffed of 
underilanding to comprehend it : it is the fpeech 
of a fimple ariftocratic, poflefled of a great foul. 
It was a city in which, fuch was its ariftocratical 
jealoufy of monarchy and oligarchy, Brutus had 
puniihed his fon ; Collatinus Tarquinius, in mere 
hatred of his name, had been obliged to abdicate 
the confullhip and banifh himfelf ; Spurius Caflius 
had been put to death for intending to be king ; and 
the decemvirs had beenpunifhed with confifcation, 
exile, and death, for their oligarchy. In fuch a 
city of ariftocratics, Melius had conceived a hope 
of being a king. " Et quis homo ?" fays Cinciri- 
. natus; and who was Melius ? " quanquam nullam 
" nobilitatem, nullos honores, nulla merita, cui- 
" quam ad dominationem pandere viani ; fed 
" tamen Claudios, Caflios, confulatibus, decem- 
" viratibus, fuis majorumque honoribus fplendore 
" familiarum fuftuliire animos, quonefas fueritV* 


* " Who is this man ? without nobility, without honours, 
" without merit, to open for him a way to the monarchy ! 


Commonwealth, examined. 243 

Melius, therefore, was not only a traitor but a 
monfter ; his eftate muft be confiscated, his houfe 
pulled down, and the fpot called ^Equimelium, as 
a monument of the crime and the punifhment, 
(Liv. lib. iv. c. 13, 14, 1 5, 1 6.) and his corn diftri- 
buted to the populace, very cheap, in order to 
appeafe them. This whole ftory is a demonftrati- 
on of the oppreflion of the people under theariflo- 
cracy ; of the extreme jealoufy of that ariftocracy 
of kings, of an oligarchy, and of popular power ; 
of the conftant fecret wifhes of the people to fet 
up a king to defend them againft the nobles, and 
of their readinefs to fall in with the views of any 
rich man who flattered them, and fet him up as a 
monarch : but it is a moft unfortunate y inftance 
for Nedham. It was not the people wfft> defend- 
ed the republic againil the defign of Melius, bu^; 
the fenate, who defended it againft both Melius 
and the people. Had Rome been then governed 
by a Marchamont Nedham's right Conftitution of 

" Claudius, indeed, and Cafllus, had their fouls elevated to 
" ambition by their confalfhips and deccmvirates, by the 
" honours of their anceftors, and the fplendour of their fa- 
milies." Is there an old maiden aunt Eleanor, of feventy 
years of age, in any family, whofe brain is more replete with 
the haughty ideas of blood, than that of the magnanimous 
Cincinnatus appears in this fpeech ? Riches are held in vaft 
contempt ! The equeftrian order is no honour nor nobility ; 
that too is held in fovereign difdain ! Beneficence and 
charity, in a moil exalted degree, at a time when his brother 
ariftocrats were griping the people to death by the molt cruel 
fe verities, and the moft fordid and avaricious ufury, was 
no merit in Melius ; but confulfhips, decemvirates, ho- 
nours, and the fplendour of family, has his moft profound 
admiration and veneration ! Every circumftance of this ap- 
pears in this fpeech, and fuch was the real character of the 
man : and whoever celebrates or commemorates Cincinnatus 
as a patron of liberty, either knows not his character, or un- 
derftands not the nature of liberty. 

" a Com- 

244 5Tfo right Conjlltution of a 

u a Commonwealth," Melius would infallibly 
have been made a king, and have tranfmitted his 
crown to his heirs. The neceflity of an indepen- 
dent fenate, as a check upon the people, is mod 
apparent in this inftance. If the people had been 
unchecked, or if they had only had the right of 
choofing an houfe of reprefentatives unchecked, 
they would in either cafe have crowned Melius. 

At the critical moment, when the Gauls had 
approached the capital with fuch filence as not to 
awaken the centinels, or even the dogs, M. Man- 
lius, who had been conful three years before, was 
awakened by the cry of the geefe which, by the 
fanctity of their confecration to Juno, had efcaped 
with their lives in an extreme fcarcity of provi- 
fions. rife haftened to the wall, and beat down 
one of the enemy who had already laid hold of 
the battlement, and whofe fall from the preci- 
pice carried down feveral others who followed 
him. With ftones and darts the Romans precipi- 
tated all the reft to the bottom of the rock. 
Manlius the next day received in a public aflem- 
bly his praifes and rewards. Officers and foldiers, 
to teftify their gratitude, gave him their rations for 
one day, both in corn and wine, half a pound of 
corn, and a quarter of a pint of wine. " Ingens 
u caritatis argumentum, cum fe vi&u fuo fraudans, 
" detra&um corpori & ufibus neceflariis ad hono- 
" rem unius viri conferre," fays Livy ; and in 
the year of Rome 365, the commonwealth gave to 
Manlius an houfe upon the capital, as a monu- 
ment of his valour and his country's gratitude. 

In the year of Rome 370, fifty-five years after 
the execution of Melius, and five years after the 
defence of the capital from the attack of Brennus, 
Manlius is fufpeded of ambition. Thofe who 
had hitherto excited, or been excited by the people 


Commonwealth , examined. 245 

to faction, had been plebeians. Manlius was a 
patrician of one of the moft illuftrious families : 
he had been conful, and acquired immortal glory 
by his military exploits, and by faving the capital : 
he was, in fhort, the rival of Cammillus, who 
had obtained two fignal victories over the Gauls, 
and from the new birth of the city had been 
always in office, either as dictator or military 
tribune ; and even, when he was only tribune, his 
colleagues confidered him as their iuperior, and 
held it an honour to receive his orders as their 
chief. In fhort, by his own reputation, the fupport 
of the Quintian family, and the enthufiaftic attach- 
ment to him he had infpired into the nation, he 
was, in fact, and effect, to all intents ana purpofes 
king in Rome, without the name, but under the 
various titles of conful, dictator, or military tribune. 
" He treats," faid Manlius, " even thofe created 
<c with powers equal to his own, not as his col- 
" leagues, but officers and fubftitutes to execute 
" his orders." The ariftocratical Livy, and all the 
other ariftocrats of Rome,accufe Manlius of envy. 
They fay he could not bear fuch glory in a man 
whom he believed no worthier than himfelf : he 
defpifed all the reft of the nobility : the virtues, 
fervices and honours of Camillus, alone excited 
his haughtinefs and felf-fufficiency, and tortured 
his jealoufy and pride : he was enraged to fee 
him always at the head of affairs, and command- 
ing armies. It is certain that this practice of con- 
tinuing Camillus always at the head was incon- 
fiftent with the fpirit of the constitution, by which 
a rotation was eftablilhed, and the confuls who 
had the command of armies could remain in office 
but one year. But this is the nature of an arifto- 
cratical afiembly as well as of a democratical one : 
fome eminent fpirit, affifted by three or four 


246 The right Conflltutlon of a 

families connected with him, gains an afcendency, 
and excites an enthufiafm, and then the fpirit and 
letter too of the conftitution is made to give way 
to him. In the cafe before us, when Camillus 
could not be conful, he muft be military tribune ; 
and when he could not be military tribune, he muft 
be dictator. 

Maniius is charged with envy, and with vain 
fpeeches. " Camillus could not have recovered 
" Rome from the Gauls if I had not faved the ca- 
" pital and citadel." This was literally true ; but 
ariflocratical hiflorians muft brand the character of 
Maniius in order to deprefs the people, and extol 
and adore that of Camillus in order to elevate the 
fenate ana the nobles. But there is no folid rea- 
fon to believe that Maniius envied Camillus, more 
than Camillus and the Quintian family were both 
envious and jealous of Maniius. The houfe upon 
the capital was what the Quintian family could 
not bear. 

The truth is, an ariftocratical defpotifm then 
ruled in Rome, and opprefled the people to a cruel 
degree ; and one is tempted to fay, that Man- 
iius was a better man than Camillus or Cincinna- 
tus, though not fo feeret, defigning, and profound 
a politician, let the torrent of ariftocratical hif- 
tory and philofophy roll as it will. There were 
two parties, one of the nobles, and another of the 
people : Maniius, from fuperior humanity and 
equity, embraced the weaker ; Camillus and the 
Quintii, from family pride like that of Lycurgus, 
domineered over the ftronger party, of which 
they were in full poffeffion. Maniius threw him- 
felf into the fcale of the people ; he entered into 
clofe intimacy and ftricl: union with the tribunes ;, 
he fpoke contemptuoufly of the fenate, and flat- 
tered the multitude. c< Jam aura, non confillio 


Commonwealth^ examined. 247 

<c ferri, famseque magnse malle quam bonac efle," 
fays the ariftocrat Livy. But let us examine his 
actions, not receive implicitly the epithets of par- 
tial hiftorians. The Roman laws allowed exorbi- 
tant intereft for the loan of money : an infolvent 
debtor, by the decree of the judge, was put into 
the hands of his creditor as his flave, and might 
be fcourged, pinched, or put to death, at difcretion: 
the moft execrable ariftocratical law that ever 
exifted among men ; a law fo diabolical, that an 
attempt to get rid of it at almoft any rate was 
a virtue. The city had been burnt, and every 
man obliged to rebuild his houfe. Not only - 
the*pooreft citizen, but perfons in middle life, 
had been obliged to contract debts. Manlius, 
feeing the rigour with which debts were exact- 
ed, felt more commiferation than his peers for 
the people. Seeing a centurion, who had dif- 
tinguifhed himfelf by a great number of gallant 
actions in the field, adjudged as a Have to his 
creditor, his indignation as well as his compaf- 
fion were aroufed ; he inveighed againft the pride 
of the patricians, cruelty of the ufurers, deplored 
the mifery of the people, and expatiated on the 
merit of his brave companion in war ; furely no 
public oration was ever better founded ; he paid 
the centurion's debt, and fet him at liberty, with 
much oftentation to be fure, a^nd ftrong expref- 
fions of vanity, but this was allowable by the 
cuftom and manners of the age. The centurion 
too difplayed his own merit and fervices, as well as 
his gratitude to his deliverer. Manlius went 
further : he caufed the principal part of his own 
patrimony to be fold, " in order, Romans," faid 
he, " that I may not fuffer any of you, whilft I 
u have any thing left to be adjudged to your 
" creditors, and made flaves." This, no doubt, 


248 The right Conftitution of a 

made him very popular : but, in the warmth of 
his democratical zeal, he had been tranfported 
upon fome occafion to fay in his own houfe, that 
the fenators had concealed, or appropriated to 
their own ufe, the gold intended for the ranfom 
of the city from the Gauls : alluding, probably, 
to the fact, for that gold had been depofited under 
the pedeftal of Jupiter's ftatue. Manlius per- 
haps thought that this gold would be better em- 
ployed to pay the debts of the people. The fe- 
nate recalled the dictator, who repaired to the 
forum, attended by all the fenators, afcended his 
tribunal, and ordered his lictor to cite Manlius 
before him. Manlius advanced with the people : 
on one fide was the fenate with their clients, and 
Camillus at their head ; and on the other the peo- 
ple, headed by Manlius ; and each party ready for 
battle at the word of command. And fuch a war 
will,fooner or later, be kindled in every ftate, where 
the two parties of poor and rich, patricians and ple- 
beians, nobles and commons, fenate and people, 
call them by what names you will, have not a third 
power in an independent executive, to intervene, 
moderate, and balance them. The artful dicta- 
tor interrogated Manlius only on the ftory of the 
gold. Manlius was embarrafled, for the fuper- 
ftition of the people would have approved of the 
apparent piety of* the fenate in dedicating that 
treafure to Jupiter, though it was probably only 
policy to hide it. He evaded the queftion, and 
defcanted on the artifice of the fenate in making a 
war the pretext for creating a dictator, while their 
real defign was to employ that terrible authority 
againft him and the people. The dictator ordered 
him to prifon. The people were deeply affected ; 
but the authority was thought to be legal, and 
the Romans had prefcribed bounds to themfelves, 


Cemfnonivealth, examined. 

through which they dare not break. The autho- 
rity of the dictator and fenate held them in fuch 
refpeft, that neither the tribunes nor the people 
ventured to raife their eyes or open their mouths. 
They put on mourning, however, and let their 
hair and beards grow, and furrounded the prifon 
with continual crowds, manifefting every fign of 
grief and affliction. They publicly faid, that the 
di&ator's triumph was over the people, not the 
Volfci, and that all that was wanting was to have 
Manlius dragged before his chariot. Every thing 
difcovered fymptoms of an immediate revolt. 
Here comes in a trait of ariftocratical cunning, ad 
cantandum vulgus, much more grofs than any 
that had been practifed by Manlius. To foften 
the people, the fenate became generous all at 
once, ordered a colony of two thoufand citizens 
to be fent out, afllgning each of them two 
acres and an half of land. Though this was a 
largefs, it was confined to too fmall a number, 
and was too moderate to take off all Manlius's 
friends. The artifice was perceived, and when 
the abdication of the dictatormip of Coffus had 
removed the fears of the people and fet their 
tongues at liberty, it had fmall effect in appeafmg 
the people, who reproached one another with 
ingratitude to their defenders, for whom they 
expreffed great zeal at firft, but always abandoned 
in time of danger ; witnefs Caflius and Melius. 
The people paffed whole nights round the prifon, 
and threatened to break down the gates. The 
fenate fet Manlius at liberty, to prevent the people 
from doing it. The next year, 371, diffentions 
were renewed with more acrimony than ever. 
Manlius, whofe fpirit was not accuftomed to hu- 
miliation, was exafperated at his -imprifonment, 
CoiTus having not dared to proceed with the 
VOL. III. ' K k decifion 

250 The right Conftitution of a 

decifion of Cincinnatus againft Melius, and even 
the fenate having been compelled to give way to 
the difcontent of the people, waa. animated to at- 
tempt a reformation of the conftitution. "How 
" long," faid he to the people, " will you be 
i6 ignorant of your own ftrength, of which Nature 
" has not thought fit that beads themfelves mould 
" be ignorant ? Count yournmnber, and that of 
" your adverfaries ; mew the war, and you will 
" have peace : let them fee that you are prepared, 
" and they will immediately grant what you afk ; 
" determine to be bold in undertaking, or refolve 
tc to fuffer the utmoft injuries. How long will 
" you fix your eyes upon me ? Muft I repeat the 
" fate of Caflius and Melius ? I hope the gods 
** will avert fuch a misfortune from me : but 
" thofegods will notdefcend ftpm heaven to defend 
" me. You mud remove the danger from me. 
*' Shall your refiftance to the fenate always end in 
" fubmiffion to the yoke ? That difpofition is not 
" natural to you ; it is the habit of fuffering them 
" to ride you, which they have made their right 
" and inheritance. Why are you fo courageous 
" againft your enemies abroad, and fo foft and 
" timorous in defence of your liberty at home ? 
" Yet you have hitherto always obtained what 
" you demanded. It is now time to undertake 
" greater things. You will find lefs difficulty in 
" giving the fenators a mafter, than it has coft 
^ you to defend yourfelves againft them, while 
" they have had the power and the will to lord it 
-" over you. Dictators and confuls muftbe abolijhed 
u if you would have the people ralfe their heads. 
" Unite with me ; prevent debtors from the ri- 
4C gours of thofe odious laws. I declare myfelf 
" the patron and protector of the people : if you 
" are for exalting your chief by any more fplen- 


Commonwealth, examined. 25.1 

'* did title, or illuftrious dignity, you will only 
" augment his power for your fupport, and to 
" obtain your defires. Ego me patronum pro- 
" fueor plebis : vos, fi, quo infigni magis imperil 
" honorifve nomine veftrum appellabitis ducem, 
" eo utemini potentiore ad obtinenda ea quos 
" vultis." Liv. This is a manifeft intention of 
introducing a balance of three branches. 

In this oration are all the principles of the 
Englifh conftitution. The authority and power 
of the people to demolifh one form of government 
and erect another, according to their own judg- 
ment or will, is clearly aflerted. The neceflity of 
aboliming the dictators and confuls, and giving to 
one chief magiftrate the power to controul the 
fenate, and protect the people, is pointed out. 
The fenate is not propofed to be abolimed, nor the 
aflemblies of the people, nor their tribunes ; but 
the abolition of cruel debtors laws, and redrefs of 
all the people's grievances, is to be the confe- 
quence. The ariftocracy was at that time a cruel 
tyranny ; the people felt it ; Manlius acknow- 
ledged it : both faw the neceflity of new model- 
ling the conftitution, and introducing the three 
branches of Romulus and Lycurgus, with better 
and clearer limitations ; and both were defirous of 
attempting it. 

If, in reading hiftory, the gloffes and reflections 
of hiftorians are taken implicitly, a miftaken judg- 
ment will often be formed. Rome was an arifto- 
cracy, and Livy an ariftocratical writer. The 
conftitution of government, the principles, preju- 
dices, and manners of the times, fhould never be a 
moment out of fight. If we believe the Romans, 
Manlius was actuated only by envy and ambition ; 
but if we confider his actions, >and the form of go- 
vernment at the time, we (hould be very apt to 


25 2 The right Conjlitution of a 

pronounce him both a greater and a better man 
than Camillus. To fpeak candidly, there was a 
rivalry between the Manlian and the Quintian 
families, and the ftruggle was which Ihould be the 
firft family, and who the firft man : and fuch a 
flruggle exifts, not only in every empire, mo- 
narchy, republic, but in every city, town, and 
village, in the world. But a philofopher might 
find as good reafon to fay that Manlius was fa- 
crificed to the envy, jealoufy, and ambition of 
Camillus and the Quintii, as that his popu- 
lar endeavours for the plebeians fprung from 
envy of Camillus, and ambition to be the firft 
man. Both were heads of parties, and had all the 
paflions incident to fuch a fituation : but if a 
judgment muft be pronounced which was the beft 
man and citizen, there are very ftrong arguments 
in favo'ur of Manlius. The name of king was 
abhorred by the Romans. But who and what 
had made it fo ? Brutus, and his brother arifto- 
crats, at the expulfion of Tarquin, by appointing 
religious execrations to be pronounced in the name 
of the whole ft ate, and for all fucceeding ages, 
againft fuch as mould dare to afpire to the throne. 
In this way any word or any thing may be made 
unpopular, at any time and in any nation. The 
fenate were now able to fet up the popular cry, 
that Manb'us afpired to the throne ; this revived 
all the religious horror which their eftablifhed exe- 
crations had made an habitual part of their na- 
tures, and turned an ignorant fuperftitious populace 
againft the beft friend, andthe only friend they 
had in the republic. The fenate firft talked of 
aiTafrmation and another Ahala ; but, to be very 
gentle, they ordered " the magiftrates to take 
" care that the commonwealth fuftained no preju- 
" dice from the pernicious defigns of Manlius." 


Commonwealth^ examined. 253 

This was worfe than private affaflination ; it 
was an afTaffi nation by the fenate ; it was judg- 
ment, fentence, and execution, without trial. The 
timid flaring people were intimidated, and even 
the tribunes caught the panic, and offered to take 
the odium off the fenate, and cite Manlius before 
the tribunal of the people themfelves, and accufe 
him in form. It is impoffible not to fufpect, nay 
fully to believe, that thefe tribunes were bribed 
fecretly by the fenators. They not only abandon- 
ed him with whom they had co-operated, but 
they betrayed the people, their conftituents, in the 
mod infamous manner. They faid, that in the 
prefent difpofition Manlius could not be openly 
attacked without interefting the people in his de- 
fence ; that violent meafures would excite a civil 
war ; that it was neceflary to feparatc the interefts 
of Manlius from thofe of the people ; they them- 
felves would cite him before the tribunal of the 
people, and accufe him in form. Nothing faid 
the tribunes, is lefs agreeable to the people than a 
king : as foon as the multitude fees that your aim 
is not againft them ; that from protectors they are 
become judges ; that their tribunes are the accu- 
fers, and that a patrician is accufed for having 
afpired at the tyranny, no intereft will be fo dear 
to them as that of their liberty. Their liberty! 
The liberty of plebeians at that time ! What a 
proftitution of facred terms ! Yet, grofs as was 
this artifice, it laid faft hold of thofe blind preju- 
dices which patricians and ariftocrats had infpir^ 
ed, and duped effectually a ftupid populace. 
Manlius was cited by the tribunes before the peo- 
ple : in a mourning habit he appeared, without 
a fingle fenator, relation, or friend, or even his 
own brothers, to exprefs concern for his fate : and 
no wonder ; a fenator, and a perfon of confular 


254 The right Conftltutlon of a 

dignity, was never known to have been fo univer- 
fally abandoned. But nothing can be more falfe 
than the refle&ions of hiftorians upon this occa- 
fion : So much did the love of liberty, and the 
" fear of being enilaved, prevail in the hearts of 
"the Romans over all the ties of blood and 
" nature !" It was not love of liberty, but abfo- 
lute fear which feized the people. The fenate had 
already condemned him by their vote, and given 
their confuls dictatorial power againfl Manlius 
and his friends : the tribunes themfelves were cor- 
rupted with bribes or fear ; and no man dared 
expofe himfelf to ariftocratical vengeance, un- 
protected by the tribunes. To prove that it 
was fear, and not patriotifm, that reftrained his 
relations and friends, we need only recoiled: 
another inftance. When Appius Claudius, the 
decemvir, was imprifoned for treafon, much 
more clear than that of Manlius, and for conduct 
as wicked, brutal, and cruel, as Manlius's appears 
virtuous, generous, and humane, the whole Clau- 
dian family, even C. Claudius, his profefled ene- 
my, appeared as fuppliants before the judges, 
imploring mercy for their relation. His friends 
were not afraid. Why ? Becaufe Claudius was an 
enemy and hater of the people, and therefore po- 
pular with moft of the partricians. His crimes 
were ariftocratical crimes, therefore not only almoft 
venial, but almoft virtues. Manlius's offence was 
love of the people ; and democratical mifde- 
meanors are the moft unpardonable of all that 
can be committed or conceived in a government 
where the daemon of ariftocracy domineers. Livy 
himfelf betrays a confciouinefs of the infufficiency 
of the evidence to prove Manlius's guilt : he fays 
he can difcover no proof, nor any other charge of 
any crime of treafon, " regni crirnen," except 


Commonwealth, examined. 255 

fome aflemblies of people, feditious fpeeches, ge- 
nerofity to debtors, and the falfe infmuation of 
the concealment of the gold. But here we fee 
what the people are when they meet in one afiem- 
bly with the fenators : they dare not vote againft 
the opinion or will of the nobles and patricians. 
The ariftocratical part of mankind ever did, and 
ever will, overawe the people and carry what 
votes they pleafe in general, when they meet 
together with the democratical part, either in a 
collective or reprefentative affembly. Thus it 
happened here : fuperftition decided. While in 
fight of the capital, their religious reverence for 
the abode of Jupiter^ faved and inhabited by 
Manlius, was a counterbalance to their fears and 
veneration for the fenators defcended from the 
gods. The people could not condemn him in 
fight of the capital. The tribunes knowing what 
was in them, adjourned to another place the next 
day. The capital out of fight, and the fenators 
prefent, condemned their deliverer, and he died a 
facrifice to the rancorous envy of his peers in the 
fenate,the confulate, and patrician order, who 
could not bear the fight of fo fpiendid a diftinc- 
tion and elevation above themfelves, in any one of 
their order, as Manlius's houfe upon the capital, 
and his title of Capitolinus. " Homines prope 
" quadringentos produxifle dicitur, quibus fine fce- 
" nore expenfas pecunias tuliflet, quorum bona ve- 
" nire, quos duci, addictos prohibuiflet. Ad hsec, 
" decora quoque belli non commemorafle tantum, 
" fed protulifle etiam confpicienda ; fpolia hoflium 
" cseforum ad triginta, dona imperatorurn ad qua- 
" draginta, in quibus infiges duas murales coronas, 
*' civicas o&o. Ad hasc fervatos ex hoftibus cives 
" produxifle, inter quos, C. Servillium magiftrum 
" equitum, abfentem nominatum : et, quum ea 

" quoque 

256 The right Conftitution of a 

cc quoque quae bello gefta efient, pro faftigio re* 
" rum,oratione etiam magnifica fada didis ssquan- 
" do, memoraflet, nudafle pedus infigne cicatrici- 
ct bus bello acceptis ; et indentidem capitolium 
" fpedans Jovem, deofpue alios devocafle ad auxi- 
cc Hum forlunarumfuarum : precatufque effe, ut, 
cc quam mentem fibi Capitolinam arcem protegenti 
u ad falutem populi Romani dedifTent, earn po- 
cc pulo Romano in fuo difcrimine darent : et orafle 
" fingulos univerfofque, ut capitolium atque ar- 
" cem intuentes, ut ad deos immortales verfi, de 
" fe judicarent." 

By removing the aflembly from the Campus 
Martius, where the people were aflfembled in 
centuries (centuriatim), to the Grove (Petelinum 
Lucum), from whence the capital could not be 
feen, obftinatis animis trifle judicium, with 
gloomy obftinacy the fatal fentence was pafled, 
and the tribunes cad him down from the Tarpeian 
rock. " Such was the cataftrophe," fays Livy, 
'* of a man who, if he had not lived in a free city, 
" would have merited fame." He mould have 
faid, if he had not lived in a fimple ariftocracy, 
and alarmed the envy of his fellow ariftocrats by 
fuperior merit, fervices, and rewards, efpecially 
that moft confpicuous mark, his houfe upon the 
capital, and his new title, or agnomen, Capitoli- 
nus, which mortal envy could not bear. 

He was no fooner dead than the people repent- 
ed and regretted him ; a fudden plague that broke 
out was confidered as a judgment from Heaven 
upon the nation for having polluted the capital 
with the blood of its deliverer. 

The hiftory of Manlius is an unanfwerable argu- 
ment againft a fimple ariftocracy ; it is a proof 
that no man's liberty or life is fafe in fuch a go- 
v-ernment : the more virtue and merit he has, the 


Commonwealth, examined. 257 

more in danger, the more certain his deftru&ion. 
It is a good argument againft a (landing fovereign 
and fupreme authority in an hereditary ariftocracy ; 
fo far Nedham quotes it pertinently, and applies 
it juftly : but when the fame example is cited to 
prove that the people in one fupreme afiembly, 
fucceflively chofen, are the bed keepers of their 
liberty, fo far from proving the propofition, it 
proves the contrary, becaufe that Camillus the 
Quintii, and Manlius, will all be chofen into that 
one aifembly by the people ; the fame emulation 
and rivalry, the fame jealoufy and envy, the fame 
ftruggles of families and individuals for the firft 
place, will arife betweenthem. One of them will 
have the rich and great for his followers, another 
the poor ; hence will arife two, or three, or more 
parties, which will never ceafe to ftruggle till war 
and bloodfhed decides which is the ftrongeft. 
Whilft the ftruggle continues, the laws are tram- 
pled on, and the rights of the citizens invaded by 
all parties in turn ; and when it is decided, the 
leader of the victorious army is emperor and def- 

Nedham had forgotten the example of Caflius, 
which would have been equally appofite to prove 
a fimple ariftocracy a bad government, and equally 
improper to prove that the people in their fu- 
preme aflemblies, fucceflively chofen, are the bell 
keepers of their liberty. It is alfo equally pro- 
per to prove the contrary, and to mew that fuch a 
fimple democracy is as dangerous as a fimple 
ariftocracy. Thefe examples all (how that the 
natural principles of the Englifli conftitution were 
conftantly at work among the Roman peo- 
ple : that nature herfelf was conilantly calling out 
for two mafters to controul the fenate, one in a 

VOL. III. L 1 kmg 

258 The Right Conftitution of a 

king or fingle perfon poflefied of the executive 
power, and the other in an equal repi efentation of 
the people poffefied of a negative on all the laws, 
and efpecially on the difpofal of the public mo- 
ney. As thefe examples are great illuilrations of 
our argument, and illuilrious proofs of the fupe- 
rior excellence of the American conftitutions, 
we will examine the ftory of Caflius before we 
come to that of the decemvirs. 

The firfl notice that is taken of Caflius is in the 
year 252, when he was. conful, gained confider- 
able advantage over the Sabines, and received 
the honour of a triumph. In 256 he was cho- 
fen by Lartius the firft dictator, general of the 
horfe, and commanded a divifion of the army with 
fuccefs againft the Latines. In the year 261, 
when difputes ran fo high between patricians and 
plebeians, that no candidate appeared for the con- 
fulfhip, and ferveral refufed, theveflel was in fuch 
a dorm that nobody would accept the helm. 
The people who remained in the city at lad 
nominated Pofthumius Cominius, A. R. 261, 
and Spurius Caflius, who were believed equally 
agreeable to plebeians and patricians. The firft 
thing they did was to propofe the affair of the 
debts to the fenate, : a violent oppofitibn enfued, 
headed by Appius, who conftantly infifled that all 
the favour fhewn the populace only made them 
the more infolent, and that nothing but inflexible 
feverity could reduce them to v their duty. The 
younger fenators all blindly adopted this opinion : 
nothing palled, in feveral tumultuous aflemblies, 
but altercations and mutual reproaches. The 
ancient fenators were all inclined to peace. Agrip- 
pa, who had obferved a fagacious medium, neither 
flattering the pride of the great, nor favouring 
the licence of the people, being one of the new 


Commonwealth, examined. 259 

fenators whom Brutus had chofen after the ex- 
pulfion of Tarquin, fupported the opinion that 
the good of the ftate required the re-eftablilh- 
ment of concord among the citizens. Sent by 
the fenate on a committee to treat with the people 
retired to the facred mountain, he fpoke his cele- 
brated fable of the Belly and the Members. The 
people at this conference, which was in 261, in- 
lifted, that as, by the creation of dictators with 
unlimited authority, the law which admitted ap- 
peals to the people from the decrees of any magif- 
trate whatever, was eluded, and in a manner 
made void, tribunes mould be created, a new fpe- 
cies of magiftrates, whofe fole duty mould be the 
confervation of their rights. The affair of Corio- 
lanus happened in this interval, between the firft 
confulate of Sp. Caffius in 261, and the fecond 
in 268 ; in which, probably, he had a&ed in fa- 
vour of the people in eftabliming the tribunate, 
and in defending them againft Coriolanus, Appius 
Claudius, and the other oligarchic fenators. This 
year, 268, he marched againft the Volfci and 
Hernici, who made peace, and the conful obtain- 
ed the honour of a triumph. 

Caffius, after his triumph, reprefented to the 
fenate, that " the people merited fome reward for 
" the fervices they had rendered the common- 
cc wealth, for defending the public liberty, and 
" fubjec~hng new countries to the Roman power : 
<c that the lands acquired by their arms belonged 

c to the public, though fome patricians had ap- 
" propriated them to themfelves : that an equita- 
" ble diftribution of thefe lands would enable the 

6 poor plebeians to bring up children for the 
" benefit of the commonwealth ; and that fuch a 
" divifion alone could eftablifh that equality which 

" ought to fubfift between the citizens of the 

" fame 

7 he right Con/tifution of a 

" fame ftate." He aflbciated in this privilege 
the Latines fettled at Rome, who had obtained the 
freedom of the city. Turn primum lex Agraria 
promulgata eft. Liv. 1. ii. 41. This law, which 
had at lead a great appearance of equity, would 
have relieved the mifery of the people, and no 
doubt rendered Caflius popular. The Romans 
never granted peace to their enemies until they 
had taken fome of their territory from them. Part 
of fuch conquefts were fold to defray the expence 
of the war : another portion was diftributed among 
the poor plebeians. Some cantons were farmed 
out for the public : rapacious patricians, folely 
intent upon enriching themfelves, took pofleflion 
of fome; and thefe lands, unjuftly ufurped by the 
rich, Caflius was for having diftributed anew in 
favour of the plebeians. 

The ariftocratical pride, avarice, and ambition, 
were all incenfed, and the fenators greatly alarm- 
ed. The people discovered fymptoms that they 
begun to think themfelves of the fame fpecies with 
their rulers, and one patrician of confular dignity 
dared to encourage them in fuch prefumptuous 
and afpiring thoughts. 

Some device or other muft be invented to dupe 
the people, and ruin their leader : Verginus the 
conful foon hit upon an expedient. Rabuleius the 
tribune afked him in aflembly, what he thought 
of this law ? He anfwered, he would willingly 
confent that the lands mould be diftributed 
among the Roman people, provided the Latines 
had no {hare ; divide et impera. This diftin&ion, 
without the leaft appearance of equity, was ad- 
drefled fimply to the popular hatred between the 
Romans and Latines, and, the bait was greedily 
fwallowed. The people were highly pleafed with 
the conful, and began to defpife Caflius, and to 


Commonwealth, examined. 

fufpeft him of ambition to be king. He conti- 
nued his friendly intentions towards the people, 
and propofed in fenate to reimburfe, as it was but 
juft, out of the public treafury, the money which 
the poorer citizens had paid for the corn of which 
Gelo, king of Syracufe, had made the common- 
wealth a prefent during the fcarcity. But even 
this was now reprefented by the fenate, and fuf- 
pecled by the people, to be only foliciting popu- 
lar favour ; and although the people felt every 
hour the neceflity of a king to protect them 
againft the tyranny of the fenate, yet they had 
been gulled by patrician artifice into an oath 
againft kings, and although they felt the want of 
fuch a magiftrate, they had not fenfe enough to 
fee it. The Agrarian law was oppofed in fenate 
by Appius and Sempronius, and evaded by the 
apppointment of ten commiffoners to furvey the 

The next year Caflius was cited before the 
people, and accufed by the quseftors of having 
taken fecret meafures for opening a way to the 
fovereignty ; of having provided arms, and re- 
ceived money from the Latines and Hernici ; and 
of having made a very great party among the moft 
robuft of their youth, who were continually feen 
in his train. 

The people heard the quseftors, but gave no at- 
tention to Caffius's anfwer and defence. N-o con- 
fideration for his children, his relations, and friends, 
who appeared in great numbers to fupport him ; 
no remembrance of his great actions, by which he 
had raifed himfelf to the firft dignities ; nor three 
confulfhips and two triumphs, which had rendered 
him very illuftrious, could delay his condemna- 
tion ; fo unpardonable a crime with the Romans 
was the ilighteft fufpicion of afpiring at regal 

power ! 

262 The right Conflitutlon of a 

power ! fo ignorant fo unjuft, fo ungrateful, and 
ib ftupid were that very body of plebeians,who 
were continually fuffering the cruel tyranny of 
patricians, and continually foliciting protectors 
againfl it ! Without regarding any moderation or 
proportion, the blind tools of the hatred and ven- 
geance of their enemies, they condemned Caflius 
to die, and the quaeftors inftantly carried him to 
the Tarpeian rock, which fronted the forum, and 
threw him down, in the prefence of the whole 
people. His houfe was demolifhed, and his eftate 
fold, to purchafe a ftatue to Ceres ; and the fac- 
tion of the great grew more powerful and haugh- 
ty, and rofe in their contempt for the plebeians, 
who loft courage in proportion, and foon re- 
proached themfelves with injuflice, as well as im- 
prudence, in the condemnation of the zealous de- 
fender of their interefts. They found themfelves 
cheated in all things. The confuls neither exe- 
cuted the fenate's decree for diftributing the lands, 
nor were the ten commiflinonersele&ed. They com- 
plained, with great truth, that the fenate did not 
aft with fincerity ; and accufed the tribunes of the 
laft year of betraying their interefts. The tribunes 
of this year warmly demanded the execution of 
the decree ; to elude which a new war was in- 
vented. The patricians preferved their ariftocra- 
tical tyranny for many centuries, by keeping up 
continually fome quarrel with foreigners, and by 
frequently creating di&ators. The patricians, in 
the aflemblies by centuries, had an immenfe ad- 
vantage over the plebeians. The confuls were 
here chofen by the patricians, as Caflius and Man- 
lius were murdered by aflemblies in centuries. In 
270 Casfo Fabius, one of Caflius's accufers, was 
chofen conful, though very unpopular. In 271 
the other of Caflius's accufers was chofen conful. 


Commonwealth, examined. 263 

In thefe contefls the fteadinefs of the patricians 
is as remarkable as the inconftancy of the ple- 
beians ; the fagacity of the former as obvious as 
the ftupidity of the latter ; and the cruelty of the 
former as confpicuous as the ingratitude of the 
.latter. Prejudice, paflion, and fuperftition, ap- 
pear to have altogether governed the plebeians, 
without the lead appearance of their being ra- 
tional creatures, or moral agents ; fuch was their 
total ignorance of arts and letters, all the little 
advantages of education which then exifted being 
monopolized by the patricians. The ariflocracy 
appears in precifely the fame character in all thefe 
anecdotes, as we before faw it in Venice, Poland, 
Bern, and elfewhere. The fame indifpenfable ne- 
ceffity appears in all of them, in order to preferve 
even the appearance of equity and liberty, to give 
the patricians a mafter in the firft executive ma- 
giftrate, and another mafter in a houfe of com- 
mons : I fay, mafter; for each of the three 
branches muft be, in its turn, both mafter and fer- 
vant, governing and biing governed by turns. 

To underftand how the people were duped upon 
thefe occafions, and particularly how Manlius was 
condemned to death, we muft recollect that the 
tribunes cited him before the people, not in their 
curise, but centuries. The centuries were formed 
on an artful idea, to make power accompany 
wealth. The people were divided into clafles, ac- 
cording to the proportion of their fortunes : each 
clafs was divided into centuries ; but the number 
of centuries in the different claffes was fo unequal, 
that thofe of the firft, or richeft clafs, made a ma- 
jority of the whole, and when the centuries of 
this clafs were unanimous they decided the quef- 
tion. By this inftitution the rich were mafters of 
the legiflature, 


264 The right Conftitution of a 

State of the Claffes and Centuries. 



. s. 

No. of 




322 18 

- 9 8 




"242 3 





161 9 





80 14 





35 i 

3 1 

Total 193 from 
98 fub. 


Majority of the firft clafs 3 

So that by citing Manlius before the people by 
centuries, the fenate were fure of a vote for his de- 
itruftion, and the people had not fenfe to fee it, 
or fpirit to alter it. ^ 

Nedham thus far appears to reafon fairly and 
conclufively, when he adduces the examples of 
Melius and Manlius, and he might have added 
Caffius, to prove that the people are ever in dan- 
ger of lofing their liberty, and indeed he might 
have advanced that they never have any liberty, 
while they are governed by one fenate. But thefe 
examples do not prove what he alledges them to 
prove, viz. that the people, in their fupreme af- 
femblies, fucceffively chofen, are the befl keepers 
of their liberty ; becaufe fuch an aflembly is fub- 
jeft to every danger of a {landing hereditary fe- 
nate ; and more the firft vote divides it Into two 
parties, and the majority is omnipotent, and the 
minority defencelefs. He fbould have adduced 


Commonwealth, examined. 265 

thefe examples to prove the neceffity of feparating 
the executive, legiflative, and judicial, and of di- 
viding the legiilature into three branches, making 
the executive one of them, and independent of 
the other two. This is the only fcientific govern- 
ment ; the only plan which fakes into confidera- 
tion all the principles in nature, and provides for 
all cafes' that occur. He is equally right, and 
^equally wrong, in the application of his other ex- 
amples. u The people," fays he, " were fome- 
" times in danger of a furprife by a grandee cabi- 
<c net or junto, as that upftart tyranny of the decem- 
" viri, where ten men made a fhift to enflave the 
" fenate as well as the people." It is no wonder 
that Caffius, Melius, and Manlius, were facrificed 
to the paffions of the fenate, for until the year of 
Rome 300, the Romans had no certain laws ; fo 
that the confuls and fenators, a&ing as judges, 
were abfolute arbiters of the fate of the citizens. 
Terentillus, a tribune, had propofed an ordinance 
that laws mould be inflituted* as rules of right, 
both in public and private affairs. The fenate 
had eluded and poAponed, by various artifices, 
the law of Terentillus until this year, 300, 
when the tribunes folicited the execution of it 
with great fpirit ; and the fenate, weary of con- 
tention, or apprehenfive of greater danger, at 
Length decreed, " That ambafiadors mould be 
fent to Athens, and to the Greek cities in Italy, to 
collect fuch laws as they mould find mod con- 
formable to the conftitution of the Roman com- 
monwealth ; and that at their return the confuls 
fhould deliberate with the fenate upon the choice 
of legiflators, of the power to be, confided to them, 
and the time they were to continue in office/' Sp. 
Poithumius, Servius Sulpicius, and A. Manlius, 
three perfons of confular dignity, were appointed 
VOL. III. M m deputies. 

266 The right Conftitutlon of a 

deputies. Three gallies were prepared by the 
public, of a magnificence that might do honour 
to the Roman people. 

In the year 302 the ambaffadors were returned, 
and Appius Claudius, whofe anceftors had always 
been haughty ariflocratics, was chofen conful, with 
T. Gentius for his colleague. The fenate af- 
fembled, and refolved that decemviri mould be 
eleded out of the principal fenators, whofe au- 
thority mould continue a year ; that they mould 
govern the commonwealth with all the power 
which the confuls then had, and as the kings had 
formerly exercifed, and without any appeal from 
their judgments ; that all other magiftracies, and 
even the tribunalfhip, mould be abolifhed. This 
decree was received by the people with loud ac- 
clamations. An afTembly, by centuries, was im- 
mediately held, and the new magiftrates created, 
and the old ones all abdicated their offices. Thus 
the conftitution was wholly changed, and all au- 
thority transferred to one centre, the decemvirs. 
It was foon exercifed like all other authorities in 
one centre. AVe fee here the effecl: of two powers, 
without a third. I he people from hatred to the 
confuls, and the fenate from hatred to the tri- 
bunes, unite at once in a total abolition of the 

The conftitution of the decemvirs was precifely 
Nedham's idea ; it was annually eligible ; it was 
the people's government in their fucceflive aflem- 
blies : but we find that an annual power, with- 
out any limits, was a great temptation. The de- 
cemvirs were all fenators of confular dignity, and 
therefore, in the opinion of the people themfelves, 
the moft eminent for talents and virtues ; yet their 
virtues were not fufficient to fecure an honed ufe 
of their unbounded power. They took many 


Commonwealth 9 examined, 267 

precautions to preferve their own moderation., as 
Well as to avoid exciting jealoufy in their fellow- 
citizens : only one had the rods and axes, the 
others had nothing to diftinguifh them but a Angle 
officer, called Accenfus, who walked before each 
of them. Their prefident continued only one 
day ; and they fucceeded each other daily, till the 
end of the year. It is much to our purpofe to 
enlarge upon this example ; becaufe, inftead of 
being an argument for Nedham's inconcinnate 
fyftem, it is full proof againft it. The courfe of 
paflions and events, in this cafe, were precifely the 
fame as will take place in every fimple govern- 
ment of the people, by a fucceflion of their repre- 
fentatives, in a fmgle afiembly : and whether that 
afiembly confifts of ten members, or five hundred, 
it will make no difference. In the morning, the 
decemviri all went to their tribunal, where they 
took cognizance of all caules and affairs, public 
and private ; juflice was adminiftered with all pof- 
fible equity ; and every body departed with per- 
fect fatisfaction. Nothing could be fo charming 
as the regard they profefled for the interefts of the 
people, and the protection which the meaneft 
found againft the oppreffion of the great. It was 
now generally affirmed, that there was no occafion 
for tribunes, confuls, praetors, or any other magif- 
trates. The wifdom, equity, moderation, and hu- 
manity of the new government, was admired and 
extolled. What peace, what tranquillity, what 
happinefs were enjoyed by the public, and by in- 
dividuals ! what a confolation ! what glory to the 
decemvirs ! Appius Claudius, efpecially, en- 
groffed the whole glory of the adminiflration in 
the minds of the people. He acquired fo de- 
cided an afcendency over his colleagues, and fo ir- 
refiftible an influence with the people, that the 


268 The right Gonftitutlon of a 

whole authority feemed centred in him. He 
had the art to diflinguifh himfelf, peculiarly, in 
whatever he tranfacted, in concert with his col- 
leagues. His mildnefs and affability, his kind 
ccndefcenfion to the meaneft and weakeft of the 
citizens, and his polite attention in faluting them 
all by their names, gained him all hearts. Let 
it be remembered, he had, till this year, been the 
open enemy of the plebeians. As his temper was 
naturally violent and cruel, his hatred to the peo- 
ple had arifen to ferocity. On a fudden he was 
become another man ; humane, popular, obliging, 
wholly devoted to pleafe the multitude, and ac- 
quire their affections. Every body delighted in the 
government of the decemvirs, and a perfect union 
prevailed among themfelves. They completed 
their body of laws, and caufed it to be engraved 
on ten tables : they were ratified by the fenate, 
confirmed by the people in the comitia centuriata, 
engraven on pillars of brafs, and placed in the fo- 
rum. The year was upon the point of expiring ; 
and as the confuls and fenators found themfelves 
delivered by the new government from the perfe- 
cutions of the tribunes, and the people from what 
they equally hated, the authority of the confuls, 
both parties agreed in the propriety of choofing 
ten fucceffors. It was pretended, that fome fur- 
ther laws might be Itill wanting ; that a year was 
too fhort to complete fo great a work ; and that 
to carry the whole into full effect, the independent 
authority of the fame magiftracy would be necef- 
fary. That which muft happen upon all annual 
elections of fuch a government in one centre, hap- 
pened in this cafe. The city was in a greater and 
more univerfal ferment than had ever been known. 
Senators, the moft diftinguifhed by age and me- 
rit, demanded the office : no doubt to prevent 


Commonwealth, examined. 269 

factious and turbulent fpirits from obtaining it. 
Appius, who fecretly intended to have himfelf con- 
tinued, feeing thofe great perfons, who had pafled 
through all dignities, fo eager in purfuit of this, 
was alarmed. The people, charmed with his paft 
conduct while decemvir, openly clamoured to 
continue him in preference to all others. He af- 
fected at firft a reluctance, and even a repugnance, 
at the thought of accepting a fecond time an em- 
ployment fo laborious, and fo capable of exciting 
jealoufy and envy againfl him. To get rid of his 
colleagues, and to ftimuiate them to refufe the 
office, he declared upon all occafions, that as they 
had difcharged their duty with fidelity, by their 
affiduity and anxious care for a whole year, it was 
but juft to allow them repofe, and appoint them 
fuccefibrs. The more averfion he difcovered, the 
more he was folicited. The defires and wimes of 
the whole city, the unanimous and earneft felici- 
tations of the multitude, were at length with pain 
and reluctance, complied with. He exceeded all 
his competitors in artifice : he embraced one, took 
another by the hand, and walked publicly in the 
forum, in company with the Duillii and Icillii, 
the two families who were the principals of the 
people, and the pillars of the tribunate. His col- 
leagues, who had been hitherto his dupes, know- 
ing thefe popular condefcenfions to be contrary to 
his character, which was naturally arrogant, began 
to open their eyes : but not daring to oppofe him 
openly, they oppofed their own addrefs to his ma- 
nagement. As he was the youngeft among them, 
they chofe him prefident, whofe office it was to 
nominate the candidates to offices, relying upon 
his modefty not to name himfelf ; a thing without 
example, except among the tribunes. But mo- 
defty and decency were found in him but feeble 


270 The right Conftitution of a 

barriers againft ambition : he not only caufed 
himfelf to be ele&ed, but excluded all his col- 
leagues of the laft year, and filled up the nine 
other places "with his own tools, three of whom 
were plebeians. The fenate, and whole patrician 
body, were aftonifhed at this, as it was thought 
by them contrary to his own glory, and that of his 
anceftors, as well as to his haughty character. 
This popular trait entirely gained him the multi- 
tude. It would be tedious to relate the manner 
in which they continued their power from year to 
year, with the mod hardened impudence on their 
part, the moft filly acquiefcence of the people, 
and the fears of the fenate and patricians. Their 
tyranny and cruelty became at length intolerable ; 
and the blood of Virginia, on a father's dagger, 
was alone fufficient to aroufe a ftupid people from 
their lethargy. 

Is it not abfurd in Nedham to adduce this ex- 
ample, in fupport of his government of the people 
by their fucceflive reprefentatives annually chofen ? 
Were not the decemvirs the people's reprefenta- 
tives ? and were not their elections annual ? and 
would not the fame confequences have happened, if 
the number had been one hundred, or fivehundred, 
or a thoufand inftead of ten ? " O, but the 
people of Rome fhould not have continued them 
in power from year to year." How will you hin- 
der the people from continuing them in power ? 
If the people have the choice, they may continue 
the fame men ; and we certainly know they will : 
no bonds can reftrain them. Without the liberty 
of choice, the deputies would not be the people's 
reprefentatives. If the people make a law, that 
the fame man (hall never ferve two years, the 
people can and will repeal that law ; if the peo- 
ple impofe upon themfelves an oath, they will foon 


Commonwealth , examined. 271 

fay and believe they can difpenfe with that oath : 
in fhort, the people will have the men whom they 
love beft for the moment, and the men whom they 
love beft will make any law to gratify their pre- 
fent humour. Nay more, the people ought to be 
reprefented by the men who have their hearts and 
confidence, for thefe alone can ever know their 
wants and defires ; but thefe men ought to have 
fome check to reftrain them, and the people too, 
when thofe defires are for forbidden fruit for in- 
juftice, cruelty, and the ruin of the minority : 
and that the defires of the majority of the people 
are often for injuftice and inhumanity againft the 
minority, is demonft rated by every page of the 
hiftory of the whole world. 

We come next to the examples of continuing 
power in particular perfons. The Romans were 
fwallowed up, by continuing power too long in 
the hands of the triumvirates of emperors, or 
generals. The firft of thefe were Csefar, Pompey,. 
and Crafius. But who continued the power of 
Csefar ? If the people continued it, the argument 
arifing from the example is againft a fimple go- 
vernment of the people, or by their fucceilive 
reprefentative aflemblies. Was it the fenate, 
was it the (landing permanent power in the con- 
ftitution, that conferred this continuance of power 
on Casfar ? By no means. It is again neceflary 
to recoiled the ftory, that we may not be impofed 
on. No military ftation exifted in Italy, left 
fome general might overaw the republic. Italy, 
however, was underftood to extend only from Ta- 
rentum to the Arnus and the Rubicon. Cifal- 
pine Gaul was not reputed in Italy, and might be 
held by a military officer and an army. Csefar, 
from a deliberate and fagacious ambition, procured 
from the people an unprecedented prolongation of 
his appointments for five years j but the diftribu- 


272 The right Conftitution of a 

tion of the provinces was (till the prerogative of 
the fenate, by the Sempronian law. Casfar had 
ever been at variance with a majority of the fe- 
nate. In the office of prastor he had been fuf- 
pended by them : in his prefent office of conful, 
he had fet them at open defiance. He had no 
hopes of obtaining from them the prolongation of 
his power, and the command of a province. He 
knew that the very propofal of giving him the 
command of Cifalpine Gaul fora number of years 
would have (hocked them. In order to carry his 
point, he mud fet afide the authority of the fe- 
nate, and deftroy the only check, the only appear- 
ance of a balance, remaining in the conftitution. 
A tool of his, the tribune Vatinius, moved the 
-people to fet afide the law of Sempronius, and by 
their own unlimited power name Casfar as pro- 
conful of Cifalpine Gaul and Illyricum for five 
years, with an army of feveral legions. The fe- 
nate were alarmed, and in vain oppofed. The 
people voted it. The fenate faw that all was loft, 
and Cato cried, " You have placed a king, with 
his guards, in your citadel." Caefar boafted, that 
he had prevailed both in obtaining the consulate 
and the command, not by the conceflion of the 
fenate, but in direct oppofition to their will. He 
was well aware of their malice, he faid, Though 
he had a confummate command of his temper, 
and the profoundefl diffimulation, while in purfuit 
of his point, his exuberant vanity braved the 
world when he had carried it. He now openly 
infulted the fenate, and no longer concealed his 
connection with Pompey and Craflus, whom he 
had over-reached to concur in his appointment. 
Thus, one of ^he cleared and ftrongeft examples 
in hiftory, to fhew the neceffity of a balance be- 
tween an independent fenate and an independent 


Commonwealth, examined. 273 

people, is adduced by Nedham in favour of his 
indigefted plan, which has no balance at all. The 
other example of Auguftus, Antony, and Lepi- 
dus, is not worth confidering particularly ; for the 
trial between them was but a ftruggle of arms, 
by military policy alone without any mixture of 
civil or political debates or negotiations. 

The fourth reafon is, " becaufe a fucceflion of 
" fuprerne powers deftroys faclion :" which is de- 
fined to be an adherence to an intereft deftinct from 
the true intereft of the (late. 

In this particular one may venture to differ 
altogether from our author, and deny the fact, 
that a fucceffion of fovereign authority in one af- 
fembly, by popular elections, deftroys faclion. 
We may affirm the contrary, that a flanding au- 
thority in an abfolute monarch, or an hereditary 
ariftocracy, are lefs friendly to the monfter than 
a .fimple popular government ; and that it is only 
in a mixed government of three independent or- 
ders, of the one, the few, and the many, and 
three feparate powers, the legiflative, executive, 
and judicial, that all forts of factions, thofe of 
poor and the- rich, thofe of the gentlemen and 
common people, thofe of the one, the few, and 
the many, can, at all times, be quelled. The 
reafon given by our author is enough to prove 
this : " Thofe who are factious, muft have time to 
" improve their fleights and projects, in difguifing 
" their defigns, drawing in inftruments, and 
" worming out their oppofites." in order to 
judge of this, let us put two fuppofitions : i . Ei- 
ther the fucceffion muft be by periodical elections, 
limply ; or, 2. by periodical elections in rotation : 
and, in either cafe the means and opportunities of 
improving addrefs and iyftems, concealing or 
feigning defigns, making friends and efcaping 
. III. N n enemies,' 

274 The right Cortftitution of a 

enemies, are greater in a fucceflion of popular 
elections than in a {landing ariftocracy or fimple 
monarchy^ and infinitely greater than in a mixed 
government. When the monfter Faftion is 
watched and guarded by Cerberus with his three 
heads, and a lop is thrown to him to corrupt or 
appeafe him, one mouth alone will devour it, and 
the other two will give the alarm. But to return 
to our firft cafe, a fucceflion in one affembly, by 
fimple annual elections. Elections are -the beft 
poflible fchools of political art and addrefs. One 
may appeal to any man who has equal experience 
in elections and in courts, whether addrefs and art, 
and even real political knowledge, is not to be 
acquired more eafily, and in a fhorter time, in 
the former than in the latter. A king of France 
once afked his moft able and honed ambaffador 
d'Oflat, where he had learned that wonderful 
dexterity, with which he penetrated into the bo- 
foms of men of all nations and characters, unra- 
velled every plait in the human foul, and every 
intricacy of affairs and events ? The cardinal an- 
fwered, " Sire, I learned it all, in my youth, at 
the ele&ion of aparifh officer." It is a common 
obfervation in England, that their greateft ftatef- 
men, and their favourite Chatham among the 
reft, were formed^by attendance on elections. The 
human heart is no where fo open and fo clofe by 
turns. Every argument is there exhaufted ; every 
paffcon, prejudice, imagination, fuperftition, and 
caprice, is eafily and iurely learned among thefe 
fcenes. One would fufpect that Shakefpeare had 
been an electioneering agent. When thefe elec- 
tions are in a fmgle city, like Rome, there will 
be always two fets of candidates : if one fet fuc- 
ceeds one year, the other will endeavour to fuc- 
ceed the next. This will make the whole year a 
fcene of faction and intrigue, and every citizen, 


Commonwealth, examined, 275 

fexcept perhaps a very few who will not meddle on 
either fide, a partifan or factious man. If the 
elections are in a large country like England, for 
example, or one of the United States of America, 
where various cities, towns, boroughs, and cor- 
porations, are to be reprefented, each fcene of 
election will have two or more candidates, and 
two or more parties, each of which will itudy its 
Heights and projects, difguife its defigns, draw in 
tools, and worm out enemies. We mult remem- 
ber, that every party, and every individual, is 
now ftruggling for a ihare in the executive and 
judicial power as well as legiflative, for a (hare 
in the distribution of all honours, offices, rewards, 
and profits. Every paffion and prejudice of every 
voter will be applied to, every flattery and me- 
nace, every trick and bribe that can be bedowed, 
and will be accepted, will be ufed ; and, what is 
horrible to think of, that candidate or that agent 
who has fewed fcruples ; who will propagate lies 
and (landers with mod confidence and fecrecy ; 
who will wheedle, flatter, and cajole ; who will 
debauch the people by tears, feads, and diver- 
fions, with the lead hefitation, and bribe with the 
mod impudent front, which can confift with hy- 
pocritical concealment, will draw in tools and 
worm out enemies the faded : unfullied honour, 
flerling integrity, real virtue, will dand a very un- 
equal chance. When vice, folly, impudence, and 
knavery, have carried an eledtion one year, they 
will acquire, in the courfe of it, frefh influence 
and power to fucceed the next. In the courfe of 
the year, the delegate in an aflembly that difpofes 
of all commiflions, contracts, and penfions, has 
many opportunities to reward his friends among 
his own condituents, and to puni(h his enemies. 
The fon or other relation of one friend has a 


$7 6 The right C on/lit ut ion of a 

commiffion given him in the army, another in the 
navy, a third a benefice in the church,~a4burth in 
the cuitoms, a fifth in the excife ; fhares in loans 
and contracts are diftributed among his friends, 
by which they are enabled to increafe their own 
and his dependents and partifans, or, in other 
words, to draw in more inilruments and parties, 
and worm out their oppofites. All this is fo eafy 
to comprehend, fo obvious to fight, and fo cer- 
tainly known in univerfal experience;, that it is 
aftoniming that our author mould have ventured 
to alfert that fuch a government kills the canker- 
worm Faction. 

But to confider the fubject in one other point of 
view, let us introduce the idea of a rotation, by 
which is here meant, not merely vacating a feat, 
which the electors may fill again with the fame 
Tubject, but a fundamental law, that no man fhall 
ierve in the foveriegn afTembly more than one 
year, or two or three years, or one in three, or 
three in fix, &c. : for example, fuppofe England, 
or any of the United States, governed by one 
fovereign aflembly, annually elected, with a fun- 
damental law, that no member mould ferve more 
than three years in fix ; what would be the con- 
fequence ? In the firft place, it is obvious that this 
is a violation of the rights of mankind ; it is an 
abridgment of the rights both of electors and can- 
didates. There is no right clearer, and few of 
more importance, than that the people mould be 
at liberty to choofe the ableft and beft men, and 
that men of the greateft merit fhould exercife the 
mod important employments ; yet, upon the pre- 
fent fuppofition, the people voluntarily refign 
this right, and fhackle their own choice. This 
year the people choofe thofe members who are 
theableil, wealthier!, beft qualified, and have moft 


Commonwealth^ examined. 277 

of their confidence and affection. * In the courfe 
of the three years they increafe their number of 
friends,and confequently their influence and power, 
by their adminiftration, yet at the end of three 
years they muft all return to private life, and be 
fucceeded by another fet, who have lefs wifdom, 
wealth and virtue, and lefs of the confidence and 
affection of the people. Will either they or the 
people bear this ? Will they not repeal the fun- 
damental law, and be applauded by the nation, 
at lead by their own friends and constituents, who 
are the majority for fo doing ? But fuppofing fo 
unnatural and improbable a thing, as that they 
ihould yet refpect the law, what will be the con- 
fequence ? They will in effect nominate their 
fucceffors, and govern ftill. Their friends are 
the majority, their fucceffors will be all taken 
from their party, and the mortified minority will 
fee themfelves the dupes. Thofe men who have 
the mod weight, influence, or power, whether by 
merit, wealth, or birth, will govern, whether they 
ftay at home or go to parliament. Such a rota- 
tation then will only increafe and multiply fac- 

Our author's examples muft be again examined. 
" What made the Roman kings factions, but a 
" continuation of power in their perfons and fa- 
" milies ?" If it is admitted that they were fac- 
tious, as Tarquin no doubt was, it is certain that 
the nobles about them were much more fo ; and 
their fa&ious actfons were chiefly occafioned by 
the eternal jealoufy and envy, rivalry and ambi- 
tion, of the great families that were neareft to 
them. But the effect was produced by their 
powers being undefined, unlimited by law, and 
unchecked by conflitutional power, not by its pro- 
longation. * The power of the king, and the 


right Conftitution of a 

power of the fenate, were continued ; and neither 
was checked, for the people had not a power 
adequate to the purpofe of checking either, much 
lefs both : both grew factious, but the fenate 
mod fo, and drove away the king, that they might 
have the exclufive power of being factious, and 
without the leaft regard to the liberty of the 

" After the Romans became a commonwealth, 
ct was it not for the fame reafon that the fenate 
<c fell into fuch heats and fits among themfelves ?" 
It may be truly anfwered, that it was not the con- 
tinuation of power in the fenate, but the powers 
being unlimited, that made it factious. A power 
without a check is a faction. The fenate itfelf 
was a faction from the firft moment after the ex- 
pulfion of the kings. But if the fenate had been 
annually chofen by the people, and held the fame 
unlimited power, their factions, heats, and fits, 
would have been much earlier and more violent. 
" Did not Appius Claudius and his junto by the 
" fame means lord it over the fenate ?" It was, 
again, the illimitation of his power that enabled 
him to lord it. It was granted only for one year. 
And who continued it ? The people. And who 
can hinder the people, when they have no check, 
from continuing power ? Who ought to hinder 
them ? But if Appius's unchecked power had 
grown up from ftep to ftep, by a feries of popular 
ele&ions, he would not have lorded it lefs : he 
might have pofleiTed Virginia, and have murdered 
her father with impunity. Continuation of power, 
in the fame perfons and families, will as certainly 
take place in a fimple democracy, or a democracy 
by reprefentation, as in an hereditary ariftocracy 
or monarchy. This evil, if it be one, will not be 
avoided nor remedied, but encreafed and aggra- 

Commonwealth, axamintd. 279 

vated, by our author's plan of government. The 
continuation will be certain ; but it will be acconv 
plifhed by corruption, which is worfe than a con- 
tinuation by birth ; and if corruption cannot effecl 
the continuation, fedition and rebellion will be re- 
curred to : for a degraded, difappointed, rich and 
illuftrious family would at any time annihilate 
heaven and earth, if it could, rather than fail of 
carrying its point. 

It is our author's peculiar misfortune, that 
all his examples prove his fyftem to be wrong, 
" Whence was it that Sylla and Marius caufed 
" lo many profcriptions, cruelties, and combuf- 
" tions in Rome, but by an extraordinary continua- 
" tion of power in themfelves ?" Continuation of 
power in Mariusi, &c. enabled him to commit cru- 
elties to be fure : But who continued him ia 
power ? Was it the fenate or the people ? By the 
enthufiafm of the people for Marius, he had fur-* 
rounded himfelf with afiafTms, who confidered the 
patricians, nobles, and fenate, as enemies to their 
caufe, and enabled him and his fa&ion to become 
mailers of the commonwealth. The better fort 
of people, the really honeft and virtuous repub- 
licans, were difcouraged and deterred from fre- 
quenting the public aflemblies. He had recourfe 
to violence in the ele&ions of tribunes, that he 
might carry the choice of a proftituted tool of his 
own, Apuleius, againft the fenate and nobles ; and 
becaufe their candidate Nonius was chofen, though 
now vefted with a facred character, Marius's crea- 
tures murdered him. No man had courage to 
propofe an enquiry into the caufe of his death. 
Apuleius, to gratify his party, propofed new laws, 
to diftribute lands to the poor citizens and to the 
veteran foldiers, to purchafe more lands for the 
fame purpofe, to remit the price of corn already 


280 The right Conftitution of a 

diftributed from the public granaries, and to dif- 
tribute (till more gratis, at the public expence, to 
the people. In vain did the quaeftor and the fe- 
nate reprefent that there would be an end of in- 
duftry, order, and government. Apuleius, to ex- 
tend the power of the popular affemblies, and re- 
move every check from his own and Marius's de- 
figns, brought forward new laws : i. That the 
acts of the tribes mould have the force of laws ; 
2.. That it mould be treafon to interrupt a tribune ; 
3. That the fenate mould be compelled to take an 
oath to confirm every aft of the tribes in five days. 
The power of the fenate was thus entirely fup- 
prefled ; their branch of the legiflature was reduc- 
ed to a mere form, and even the form they were 
not at liberty to refufe. Marius, though he was 
at the bottom of this meafure at firft, by the 
moft abandoned hypocrify declared himfelf in fe- 
nate againft taking the oath, in order to ruin 
Metellus and all the other honed men ; and, as 
foon as he had accomplifhed this, he took the 
oath, and compelled the reft to do the fame. It 
was by flattery, bribery, artifice, and violence, 
that Marius and Apuleius prevailed with the peo- 
ple to continue their power, in oppofition to alt 
that the fenate could do to prevent it. What 
would have been the confequence then if there 
had been no fenate ? Would not the majority of 
the people in the tribes have continued their 
power, againft all that could have been done by 
the minority ? Would not ftill more of the pub- 
lic lands, money, and grain, have been lavifhed 
upon proper inftruments among the majority, and 
the minority have been compelled to pay the ex- 
pence ? Our author afFecls to fay, that the " fenate 
" and people continued the powers of Pompey 
" and Ceaiar." But Casfar himfelf kaew it was 


Commonwealth, examined* 281 

the people, and not the fenate ; and if the fenate 
continued Pompey, it was becaufe Cssfar and the 
people laid them under the neceffity of doing it in 
their own defence. Would Casfar have had lefs 
" command in Gallia," if the people, or their fuc- 
ceffive aflemblies, had been polfefTed of all power ? 
It is mod obvious, that a majorityof the people, in 
that cafe, would have continued Csefar as long as 
he defired, and have given him as much power as 
he wifhed : fo that every ftep of our author's 
progrefs demonstrates his fyflem to be falfe. It is 
idle to fay, that a continuation of power increafes 
influence, and fpreads corruption, unlefs you point 
out a way to prevent fuch a continuance of power. 
To give all power to the people's fucceflive fihgle 
reprefentative affemblies, is to make the continu- 
ance of power, with all its increafmg influence and 
corruption, certain and inevitable. You may as 
wifely preach to the winds, as gravely exhort a 
triumphant majority to lay down their power. 

It is undoubtedly honourable in any man, who 
has acquired a great influence, unbounded confi- 
dence, and unlimited power, to refign it volunta- 
rily 5 and odious to take advantage of fuch an 
opportunity to deftroy a free government: but 
it would be madnefs in a legiflator to frame his 
policy upon a fuppofition that fuch magnanimity 
would often appear. It is his bufmefs to contrive 
his plan in fuch a manner, that fuch unlimited in- 
fluence, confidence, and power, fliall never be ob- 
tained by any man. The laws alone can be 
trufted with unlimited confidence : Thofe laws, 
which alone can fecure equity between all and 
every one * ; which are the bond of that dignity 
which we enjoy in the commonwealth ; the 

* Quod ^ sequabile inter omnes atque unum, omnibus efTe 
poteft. Cic. p. Csecin. 

VOL. III. O o foundation 

282 The right Conftitutlon of a 

foundation of liberty, and the fountain of equity ; 
the mind, the foul, the counfel, and judgment of 
the city ; whofe minifters are the magiftrates, 
whofe interpreters the judges, whofe fervants are 
all men who mean to be free* : Thofe laws, which 
are right reafon, derived from the Divinity, com- 
manding honefty, and forbidding iniquity ; which 
are filent magiftrates, where the magiftrates are 
only fpeaking laws ; which, as they are founded 
in eternal morals, are emanations of the Divine 
mind f . 

If, " the life of liberty, and the only remedy 
" againft felf-intereft, lies in fucceffion of powers 
u and perlons," the United States of America 
have taken the moil effectual meafures to fecure 
that life and that remedy, in eftablifhing annual 
elections of their governors, fenators, and repre- 
fentatives. This will probably be allowed to be 
as perfect an eftablifhment of a fuccedion of 
powers and perfons as human laws can make : but 
in what manner annual elections of governors and 
fenators will operate remains to be afcertained. It 
mould always be remembered, that this is not the 
firft experiment that was ever made in the world 
of elections to great offices of ftate : how they 

* Hoc vinculum eft hujus dignitatis qua fruimer in repub- 
lica, hoc fundamentum libertatis, hie fons asquitatis. Mens, 
et animus, et conulium, et fcntentia civitatis, pofita eft in legi- 
bus. Ut corpora noftra fine mente, fie civitas fine lege 
fuis partibus, ut nervis ac fangnine et membris, uti non po- 
teft. Legum miniftri, magiftratus : legum interpretes judi- 
ces : legum denique idcirco omnes fervi fumus, ut liberi efle 
pofiimus. Cic. pro Cluent. 146. 

f Lex nihil aliad eft nifi re&a, et a numine Deorum tra&a 
ratio, imperans honefta, prohibcns contraria. Cic. ii. in 
Anton. 28. Illa'lDJvina mens fumma lex eft. De Leg. ii. u. 
Magiftratum legem efle loquendem, legem magiftratum mu- 
tum. De Leg. iii. 2. 


Commonwealth, examined. 283 

have hitherto operated in every great nation, and 
what has been their end, is very well known. Man- 
kind have univerfally difcovered that chance was 
preferable to acorruptchoice,and have trufted Pro- 
vidence rather than thernfelves. Firfl magiflrates 
and fenators had better be made Jiereditary at 
once, than that the people fhould be univerialiy 
debauched and bribed, go to loggerheads, and fiy 
to arms regularly every year. Thank Heaven ! 
Americans underfland calling conventions; and if 
the time mould come, as it is very poflible it 
may, when hereditary defcent (hall become a lefs 
evil than annual fraud and violence, fuch a con- 
vention may ftill prevent the firft magiftrate from 
becoming abfolute as well as hereditary, But if 
this argument of our author is confidered as he 
intended it, as a proof that a fucceffion of powers 
and perfons in one afiembly is the mod perfect 
commonwealth, it is totally fallacious. 

Though we allow benevolence and generous 
affections to exifl in the human breaft, yet every 
moral theorifl will allow the felfifh pailions in the 
generality of men to be the ftrongeft. There are 
few who love the public better than themfelves, 
though all may have fome affe&ion for the pub- 
lic. We are not, indeed, commanded to love our 
neighbour better than ourfelves. Self-intereft, 
private avidity, ambition, and avarice, will exift in 
every (late of fociety, and under every form of 
government. A fucceffion of powers and perfons, 
by frequent ele&ions, will not leffen thefe paf- 
lions in any cafe, in a governor, fenator, or repre- 
fentative ; nor will the apprehenfion of an ap- 
proaching election reftrain them from indulgence 
if they have the power. The only remedy is to 
take away the power, by controuling the felfifh 
avidity of the governor, by the fenate and houfe ; 


2 84 The right Conftitution of a 

of the fenate, by the governor and houfe ; and of 
the houfe, by the governor and fenate. Of all 
pofllble forms of government, a fovereignty in one 
aflembly, fuccellively chofen by the people, is per- 
haps the beft calculated to facilitate the gratifica- 
tion of felf-love, and the purfuit of the private 
intereft of a few individuals ; a few eminent con- 
fpicuous characters will be continued in their feats 
in the fovereign afifembly, from one election to 
another, whatever changes are made in the feats 
around them ; by fuperior art, addrefs, and opu- 
lence, by more fplendid birth, reputations, and 
connections, they will be able to intrigue with the 
people and their leaders out of doors, until they 
worm out moll of their oppofers, and introduce 
their friends : to this end they will beftow all 
offices, contracts, privileges in commerce, and 
other emoluments, on the latter and their connec- 
tions, and throw every vexation and difappoint- 
ment in the way of the former, until they eftablifh 
fuch a fyftem of hopes and fears throughout the 
flate as mail enable them to carry a majority in 
every frefti election of the houfe. The judges will 
be appointed by them and their party, and of con- 
fequence will be obfequious enough to their in- 
clinations. The whole judicial authority, as well 
as the executive, will be employed, perverted, and 
proftituted to the purpofes of electioneering. No 
juftice will be attainable, nor will innocence or 
virtue be fafe, in the judicial courts, but for the 
friends of the prevailing leaders : legal profecu- 
tions will be inflituted and carried on againft op- 
pofers, to their vexation and ruin, and as they 
have the public purfe at command, as well as the 
executive and judicial power, the public money 
will be expended in the fame way. No favours 
will be attainable but by thofe who will court the 


Commonwealth, examined. 285 

ruling demagogues in the houfe,by voting for their 
friends and inftruments ; and penfions and pecu- 
niary rewards and gratifications, as well as ho- 
nours and offices of every kind, voted to friends 
and partifans. The leading minds and moft in- 
fluential characters among the clergy will be 
courted, and the views of the youth in this de- 
partment will be turned upon thofe men, and the 
road to promotion and employment in the church 
will be obftructed againft fuch as will not worfhip 
the general idol. Capital characters among the 
phyficians will not be forgotten, and the means of 
acquiring reputation and practice in the healing 
art will be to get the (late trumpeters on the fide 
of youth. The bar too will be made fo fubfer- 
vient, that a young gentleman will have no chance 
to obtain a character or clients, but by falling in 
with the views of the judges and their creators. 
Even the theatres, and actors and actrefles, muft 
become politicians, and convert the public plea- 
fures into engines of popularity^br the governing 
members of the houfe. The prefs, that great 
barrier and bulwark of the rights of mankind, 
when it is protected in its freedom by law, can 
now no longer be free : if the authors, writers, 
and printers, will not accept of the hire that will 
be offered them, they muft fubmit to the ruin that 
will be denounced againft them. The prefles, 
with much fecrecy and concealment, will be made 
the vehicles of calumny againft the minority, and 
of panegyric and empirical applaufes of the lea- 
ders of the majority, and no remedy can poflibly 
be obtained. In one word, the whole fyftem of 
affairs, and every conceivable motive of hope and 
fear, will be employed to promote the private inte- 
refts of a few, and their obfequious majority : 
and there is no remedy but in arms. Accord- 

The right Conjlitutlon tfa 

ingly we find in all the Italian republics the mi- 
nority always were driven to arms in defpair. 
* c The attaining of particular ends requires length 
" of time ; defigns muft lie in fermentation to 
* c gain the opportunity to bring matters to per- 
fection." It is true ; but lefs time will be 
neceffary in this cafe, in general, than even in a 
fimple hereditary monarchy or ariftocracy. 

An ariftocracy, like the Roman fenate, between 
the abolition of royalty, and the inftitution of the 
tribunate, is of itfelf a faction, a private partial 
intereft. Yet it was lefs fo than an affembly 
arfhually choien by the people, and vefted with all 
authority, would be ; for fuch an affembly runs 
fader and eafier into an oligarchy than an heredi- 
tary ariftocratical affembly. The leading mem- 
bers having, as has been before fhewn in detail, 
the appointment of judges, and the nomination to 
all lucrative and honourable offices, they have 
thus the power to bend the whole executive and 
judicial authority to their own pfivate intereft, 
and by thefe means to increafe their own reputa- 
tions, wealth and influence, and thofe of their 
party, at every new election : whereas in a ilm- 
ple hereditary ariftocracy, it is the intereft of the 
members in general to preferve an equality among 
themfelves as long as they can ; and as they are 
.f mailer in number, and have more knowledge, they 
can more eafily unite for that purpofe, and there 
is no opportunity for any one to increafe his 
power by any annual elections. An afpiring 
ariftocratic therefore muft take more time, and 
ufe more addrefs, to augment his influence : yet 
we find in experience, that even hereditary arifto- 
cracies have never been able to prevent oligarchies 
rifing up among them, but by the mod rigorous, 


Commonwealth examined. 287 

fevere, and tyrannical regulations, fuch as the in- 
ftitution of inquifitions, &c. 

It may found oddly to fay that the majority is 
a fa&ion ; but it is, neverthelefs, literally juft. 
If the majority are partial in their own favour, if 
they refufe to deny a perfect equality to every 
member of the minority, they are a faction : and 
as a popular affembly, colle&ive or representative, 
cann'ot aft, or will, but by a vote, the firft ftep 
they take, if they are not unanimous, occafions a 
divifion into majority and minority, that is into 
two parties, and the moment the former is unjuft 
it is a faction. The Roman decemvirs themfelves 
were fet up by the people, not by the fenate : 
much longer time would have been required for 
an oligarchy to have grown up among the patri- 
cians and in the fenate, if the people had not 
interpofed and demanded a body of law$, that is, a 
conftitution. The fenate oppofed the requifition 
as long as they could, but at laft appointed the 
decemvirs, much againfl their own inclinations, 
and merely in compliance with the urgent cla- 
mours of the people. Ned ham thinks, that " as 
" the firft founders of the Roman liberty did well 
" in driving out their kings ; fo on the other 
"fide, they did very ill in fettling a {landing 
"authority within themfelves." It is really very 
injudicious, and very ridiculous, to call thole Ro- 
man nobles who expelled their kings, founders of 
the Roman liberty : nothing was farther from 
their heads or their hearts than national liberty ; 
it was merely a ftruggle for power between a 
king and a body of haughty envious nobles ; the 
interefts of the people and of liberty had no mare 
in it. The Romans might do well in driving out 
their king : he might be a bad and incorrigible 
character ; and in fuch a cafe any people may do 


2S8 The right Conftitution of a 

well in expelling or depofmg a king. But they 
did not well in demqliming the fingle executive 
magiftracy : they fhould have then demanded a 
body of laws, a definite conftitution, and an in- 
tegral fhare in the legiflature for the people, with 
a percife deliniation of the powers of the firft ma- 
giftrate and fenate. In this cafe they would have 
been entitled to the praife of founders of Roman 
liberty : but as it was, they only fubftituted one 
fyftem of tyranny for another, and the new one 
was worfe than the old. They certainly " did 
" very ill in fettling a (landing* fovereign fupreme 
" authority within themfelves." Thus far our 
author is perfectly in the right, and the reafon he 
gives for this opinion is very well founded : it is 
the fame that was given thoufands of years before 
him, by Plato, Socrates, and others, and has been 
conflantly given by all fucceeding writers in fa- 
vour of mixed governments, and againft fimple 
ones, " beeaufe, lying open to the temptations of 
" honour and profit," or, in other words, having 
their ambition and vanity, avarice and luft, hatred 
and refentment, malice and revenge, in ihort, 
their felf-love* and all their paflions (" which are 
" fails too big for any human bulk") unreftrain- 
ed by any controuling power, they were at once 
tranfported by them ; made ufe of their public 
power not for the good of the commonwealth, but 
for the gratification of their private paffions, 
whereby they put the commonwealth, into frequent 
flames of difcontent and fedition. Thus far is 
very well : but when our author goes on, cc which 
4C might all have been prevented, could they 
" have fettled the date free, indeed, by placing an 
" orderly fucceflion of fupreme authority in the 
<f hands of the people," he can be followed by no 
one who knows what is in man, and in fociety 


Commonwealth, examined 4 89 

becaufe that fupreme authority falls out of the 
whole body into a majority at the firft vote. To 
expect felf-denial from men, when they have a 
majority in their favour, and confequendy power 
to gratify themfelves, is to difoelieve all hiftory 
and univerfal experience ; it is to difbelieve Reve-* 
lation and the Word of God, which informs us, the 
heart is deceitful above all things, and defperately 
wicked. There have been examples of felf-de- 
nial, and will be again ; but fuch exalted virtue 
never yet exifted in any large body of men and 
lafted long : and our authors argument requires 
it to be proved, not only that individuals, but 
that nations and majorities of nations, are capable 
not only of afingleact, or afewa&s of difintereft- 
ed juftice and exalted felf-denial, but of a courfe of 
fuch heroic virtue for ages and generations 5 and 
not only that they are capable of this, but that it is 
probable they will practtfe it. There is no man 
fo blind as not to fee, that to talk of founding a 
government upoil a fuppofition that nations and 
great bodies of men, left to themfelves, will prac- 
tife a courfe of felf-denial, is either to babble like 
a new-born infant, or to deceive like an unprinci- 
pled impoflor. Nedham has himfelf acknow- 
ledged, in feveral parts of this work, the depravity 
of men in very ftrong terms. In this fifth reafon 
he avers " temptations of honour and profit to be 
" fails too big for any human bulk." Why then 
does he build a fyftem on a foundation which he 
owns to be fo unflable ? If his mind had been at 
liberty to follow his own ideas and principles, he 
mufl have feen, that a fucceffion of fupreme au- 
thority in the hands of the people, by their houfe 
^of reprefentatives, is at firft an ariftocracy as def- 
potical as a Roman fenate, and becomes an oli- 
garchy even fooner than that affembly fell into the 
decemvirate. There is this infallible difadvan- 
VOL. III. P p tage 

lgc> The right Conftitution of a 

tage in fuch a government, even in companion 
with an hereditary ariltocracy, that it lets in vice, 
profligacy, and corruption, like a torrent, \\ ith 
tyranny ; whereas the latter often guards the mo- 
rals of the people with the utmoft feverity : even 
the defpotifm of ariftocracy preferves the morals 
of the people. 

It is pretended by fome, that a fovereignty in 
a fmgle afiembly, annually elected, is the only one 
in which there is any reiponfibility for the exer- 
cjfe of power. In the mixed government we con- 
tend for, the minifters, at leaft of the executive 
power, are refponfible for every inilance of the ex- 
ercife of it ; and if they difpofe of a fmgle com- 
miffion by corruption, they are refponfible to a 
houfe of reprefentatives, who may, by impeach* 
ment, make them refponfible before a fenate, 
where they may be accufed, tried, condemned, 
and punimed, by independent judges. But in a 
fmgle fovereign affembly, each member, at the 
end of' his year, is only refponfible to his conftitu- 
ents : and the majority of members who have 
been of one party, and carried all before them, 
are to be refponfible only to their constituents, 
not to the conflituen-ts of the minority who have 
been overborne, injured, and plundered. And 
who are thefe conftituents tp whom the majority 
are accountable ? Thofe very perfons to gratify 
whom they have proitituted the honours, re- 
wards, wealth, and juftice of the flate. Thefe, 
inltead of punching, will applaud ; in (lead of dif- 
carding, will re-elefl:, with (till greater eclat, and a 
more numerous majority ; for the lofmg caufe will 
be deferted by numbers : and this will be done in 
hopes of having flill more injuflice done, {till 
more honours and profits divided among them- 
felves, to the exclufion and mortification of the 
minority. It is then aftonifhing that fuch a fim- 


examined. 491 

pie government mould be preferred to a mixed 
one, by any rational creature, on the fcore of re- 
fponfibility. There is in fhort, no poflible way 
of defending the minority in fuch a government, 
from the tyranny of the majority, but by giving 
the former a negative on the latter, the mod ab- y 
furd inflitution that ever took place among men. 
As the major may bear all poffible relations of 
proportion to the minor part, it may be fifty-one 
againd forty-nine in an afiembly of an hundred, 
or it may be ninety-nine againft one only : it be- 
comes therefore neceflary to give the negative to 
the minority, in all cafes, though it be ever fo 
fmall. Every member mutt pofiefs it, or he can 
never be fecure that himfelf and his condituents 
fhall not be facrificed by all the reft. This is the 
true ground and original of the liberum veto in 
Poland ; but the confequence has been ruin to 
that noble but ill-conftituted republic. One fool, 
or one knave, one member of the diet which is 
a fingle fovereign alTembly, bribed by an in- 
triguing ambafiador of fome foreign power, has .. 
prevented meafures the moft eflential to the de 
fence, fafety, and exiftence of the nation. Hence 
humiliations and partitions ! This alfo is the rea- 
fon on which is founded the law of the United 
Netherlands, that all the feven provinces muft be 
unanimous in the afiembly of the States General ; 
and all the cities and other voting bodies in the 
arTemblies of the feparate dates. Having no fuf- 
ficient checks in tjieir uncouth conditution, nor 
any mediating power poflefled of the whole exe- 
cutive, they have been driven to demand unani- 
mity indead of a balance : and this mud be 
done in every government of a fingle afiembly, or 
the majority will indantly opprefs the minority. 
But what kind of government would that be in 
the United States of America, or any one of them, 


29 2 The right Conftitution of a 

that fhould require unanimity, or allow of the li- 
berum veto ? It is fufficient to aik the queftion, 
for every man will anfwer it alike. 

No controverfy will be maintained with our 
author, u that a free (late is more excellent than 
*' fimple monarchy, or fimple ariftocracy." But 
the queftio'n is, What is a free ftate ? It is plain 
our author means a fingle aflembly of reprefen- 
tatives of the people, periodically ele&ed, and 
vefted with the fupreme power. This is denied 
to be a free ftate. It is at firft a government 
of grandees, and will foon degenerate into a go- 
vernment of a junto or oligarchy of a few of the 
mod eminent of them, or into an abolute mo- 
narchy of one of them. The government of thefe 
grandees, while they are numerous, as well as 
when they become few, will be fo oppreffive to the 
people, that the people from hatred or fear of the 
gentlemen, wijl fet up one of them to rule the 
reft, and make him abfolute. Will it be afked 
how this can be proved? It is proved, as has 
been often already faid, by the conftitution of hu- 
man nature, by the experience of the world, and 
the concurrent teftimony of all hiftory. Thepaf- 
fions and defires of the majority of the reprefen- 
tatives in aflembly being in their nature infatia- 
ble and unlimited by any thing within their own 
breafts, and having nothing to controul them 
without, will crave more and more indulgence, 
and, as they have the power, they will have the 
gratification ; and Nedham's government will have 
no fecurity for continuing free, but the prefump- 
tion of felf-denial and (elf-government in the 
members of the aflembly, virtues and qualities 
that never exifted in great bodies of men, by the 
Acknowledgment of all the greateft judges of hu- 

Commonwealth , examined. 293 

man nature, as well as by his own, when he fays, 
that " temptations of honour and profit are fails 
" too big for any human bulk." It would be as 
reafonable to fay, that all government' is altoge- 
ther unneceflary, becaufe it is the duty of all men 
to deny themfelves, and obey the laws of nature, 
and the laws of God. However clear the duty, 
we know it will not be performed ; and therefore 
it is our duty to enter into affbciations, and com- 
pel one another to do fome of it. 

It is agreed that the people are the beft keepers 
of their own liberties, and the only keepers who 
can be always trufted ; and therefore the peo- 
ple's fair, full and honeft confent, to every law, 
by their reprefentatives, muft be made an eflen- 
tial part of the conftitution : but it is denied that 
they are the beft keepers, or any keepers at all, of 
their own liberties, when they hold collectively, or 
by reprefentation, the executive and judicial pow- 
er, or the whole and uncontrouled legiflative ; on 
the contrary, the experience of all ages has 
proved, that they inftantly give away their liber- 
ties into the hands of grandees, or kings, idols of 
their own creation. The management of the exe- 
cutive and judicial powers together always cor- 
rupts them, and throws the whole power into the 
hands of the moft profligate and abandoned among 
themfelves. The honeft men are generally nearly 
equally divided in fentiment, and therefore the 
vicious and unprincipled, by joining one party, 
carries the majority , and the vicious and unprin- 
cipled always follow the moft profligate leader, 
him who bribes the higheft^ and fets all decency 
and fhame at defiance ; it becomes more profit- 
able, and reputable too, except with a very few, 
to be a party man than a public fpirited one. 
It is agreed that " the end of all govarnment 

right Conftitiition of a 

" is the good and eafe of the people, in a fecure 
" enjoyment of their rights, without oppreffion ; M 
but it muft be remembered, that the rich are/>f0- 
fle as well as the poor ; that they have rights as 
well as others ; that they have as clear and asy#- 
creel* right to their large. property, as others have 
to theirs which is fmaller ; that oppreflion to them 
is as poflible, and as wicked, as to others ; that 
ftealing, robbing, cheating, are the fame crimes and 
fins, whether committed againft them or others. 
The rich, therefore, ought to have an effectual 
barrier in the conftitution againft being robbed, 
plundered, and murdered, as well as the poor ; 
and this can never be without an independent fe- 
nate. The poor mould have a bulwark againft 
the fame dangers and oppreflions ; and this can 
never be without a houfe of reprefentatives of 
the people. But neither the rich nor the poor 
can be defended by their refpeftive guardians in 
the conftitution, without an executive power, veft- 
ed with a negative, equal- to either, to hold the 
balance even between them, and decide when 
they cannot agree. If it is afked, when will this 
negative be ufed ? it may be anfwered, Per- 
haps never : the known exiftence of it will pre- 
vent all occafion to exercife it ; but if it has not 
a being, the want of it will be felt every day. If 
it has not been ufed in England for a long time 
paft, it by no means follows -that there have not 
been occafions when it might have been employed 
with propriety. But one thing is very certain, 
that there have been many occafions when the con- 
ftytution would have been overturned fince the 
Revolution, if the negative had not been an in- 
dubitable prerogative of the crown. 

It is agreed that the people are " moft fenfible 
< of their own burthens; and being put into a 

" capacity 

Commonwealth examined. 295 

" capacity and freedom of acting, are the mod 
" likely to provide remedies for their own relief." 
For this reafon they are an eflential branch of the 
legiflature, and have a negative on all laws, an 
abfolute controul over every grant of money, and 
an unlimited right to accufe their enemies before 
an impartial tribunal. Thus far they are mod fen- 
fible of their burthens, and mod likely to pro- 
vide remedies. But it is affirmed, that they are 
not only incapable of managing the executive 
power, but would be inftantly corrupted by it in 
fuch numbers as would deftroy the integrity of 
all elections. It is denied that the legiflative 
power can be wholly entruftedin their hands with 
a moment's fafety: the poor and the vicious 
would inftantly rob the rich and virtuous, fpread 
their plunder in debauchery, or confer it upon 
fome idol, who would become the defpot ; or, to 
fpeak more intelligibly, if not more accurately, 
fome of the rich, by debauching the vicious to 
their corrupt intereft, would plunder the virtuous, 
and become more rich, until they acquired all the 
property , or a balance of property and of power, 
in their own hands, and domineered as defpots in 
an oligarchy. 

It is agreed that the " people know where the 
"fhoe wrings, what grievances are moft heavy," 
and therefore they mould always hold an inde- 
pendent and eflential part in the legiflature, and 
be always able to prevent the Ihoe from wringing 
more, and the grievances from being made more 
heavy ; they mould have a full hearing of all their 
arguments, and a full fhare of all confultations, 
for eafmg the foot where it is in pain, and-fbr lef- 
fening the weight of grievances, or annihilating 
them; but it is denied that they have right, er 
that they fhould have power, to take from one man 


right Conftitution of a 

his property, to make another eafy, and that they 
only know "what fences they (land in need of to 
" (helter them from the injurious aflaults of thofe 
" powers that are above them ;" meaning, by the 
powers above them, fenators and magiftrates, 
though, properly fpeaking, there are no powers 
above them but the law, which is above all men, 
governors and fenators, kings and nobles, as well 
as commons. 

The Americans have agreed with this writer in 
the fentiment, " that it is but reafon that the 
" people mould fee that none be interefted in the 
" iupreme authority but perfons of their own 
* c election, and fuch as muft, in a fhort time, re- 
" turn again into the fame condition with them- 
" felves." This hazardous experiment they have 
tried, and, if elections are foberly made, it may 
anfwer very well ; but if parties, factions, drun- 
kennefs, bribes, armies, and delirium, come in, as 
they always have done fooner or later, to embroil 
and decide every thing, the people muft again 
have recourfe to conventions, and find a remedy. 
Neither philofophy nor policy has yet difcovered 
any other cure, than by prolonging the duration 
of the firft magiftrate and - fenators. The evil 
may be leflened and poftponed, by elections for 
longer periods of years, till they become for life ; 
and if this is not found an adequate remedy, 
there will remain no other but to make them he- 
reditary. The delicacy or the dread of unpopu- 
larity, that mould induce any man to conceal this 
important truth from the full view and con- 
templation of the people, would be a weakness, if 
not a vice. As to " reaping the fame benefit or 
" burthen by the raws enafted that befals ! the 
V reft of the people," this will be fecured, whe- 
ther the firft magiftrate and fenate be elective or 


Commonwealth, examined. 297 

hereditary, as long as the people are an integral 
branch of the legislature ; can be bound by no 
laws to which they have not confented ; and can 
be fubjected to no tax which they have not agreed 
to lay. It is agreed that the * c iffue of fuch a 
" conflitution," whether the governor and fenate 
be hereditary or elective, mufl be this, " that no 
" load be laid upon any, but what is common 
" to all, and that always by common confent - y 
" not to ferve the lufts of any, but only to fup- 
* c ply the neceflities of their country." 

The next paragraph is a figurative flourifh, cal* 
culated to amufe a populace, without informing 
their underflandings. Poetry and myftics will 
anfwer no good end in difcuiling queilions of this 
nature. The fimpleft flyle, the moft mathemati- 
cal precifion of words and ideas, is bed adapted 
to difcover truth, and to convey it to others, in 
reafoning on this fubjel. There is here a confu- 
fion that is .more than accidental it is artful : 
the author purpofely Rates the queftion, arid 
makes the comparifon only between fimple forms 
of government, and carefully keeps out of fight 
the idea of a judicious mixture of them all. 
He feems to fuppofe, that a fupreme power 
mufl be wholly in the hands of a fimple monarch, 
or of a fingle fenate, or of the people, and fludi- 
oufly avoids considering the fovereignty lodged in, 
a compofition of all three. ct When a fupreme 
" power long continues in the hands of any per- 
" fon or perions, they, by greatnefs of place, be- 
u ing feated above the middle region of tl}e peo- 
" pie, fit fecure from all winds and weathers, and 
" from thofe florins of violence that nip and ter- 
" rify the inferior part of the world." If this ia 
popular poetry, it is not philefophical reafoning. 
It may be made a queftion, whether it is true in 

VOL. III. Q^q fad, 




298 The right C on/lit ut ion of a 

fact, that perfons in the higher ranks of life are 
more exempted from dangers and evils that threat- 
en the commonwealth than thofe in the middle 
or lower rank ? But if it were true, the United 
States of America have eftablifhed their govern- 
ments upon a principle to guard againd it ; and, 
"by a fucceflive revolution of authority, they 
" come to be degraded of their earthly godheads, 
" and return into the fame condition with other 
" mortals ;" and therefore, " they mufl needs be 
" more fenfible and tender of what is laid upon 
" them." 

Our author is not explicit. If he meant that 
a fundamental law mould be made, that no man 
mould be chofen more than one year, he has no 
where faid fo. He knew the nation would not 
have borne it. Cromwell and his creatures would 
all have deteded it; nor would the members of 
the Long Parliament, or their condituents, have 
approved it. The idea would have been uni- 
verfally unpopular. NO people in the world will 
bear to be deprived, at the end of one year, of 
the fervice of their bed men, and be obliged to 
confer their fuffrages, from year to year, on the 
next bed, until the rotation brings them to the 
word. The men of greated intered and influence, A 
moreover will govern ; and if they cannot be < 
chofen themfelves, they will generally influence . 
the choice of others fo decidedly, that they may 
be faid to have the appointment. If it is true 
that " the dronged obligation that can be laid 
" upon a man in public matters, is to fee that 
" he engage in nothing but what mud either 
" offenfively or beneficially refled upon himfelf, 3 * 
it is equally true at lead in a mixed government 
as in a fimple democracy : it is, indeed, more 
clearly and univerfally true, bacaufe in the fir ft 


Commonwealth, examined. 299 

the reprefentatives of the people being the fpecial 
guardians of equality, equity, and liberty, for the 
people, will not conient to unequal laws ; but in 
the fecond, where the great and rich will have the 
greateft influence in the public councils, they will 
continually make unequal laws in their own fa- 
vour, unlefs the poorer majority unite, which they 
rarely do, fet up an oppofition to them, and run 
them down by making unequal laws againft them. 
In every fociety where property exifts, there will 
ever be a druggie between rich and poor. Mixed 
in one aflembly, equal laws can never be expected : 
they will either be made by numbers, to plun- 
der the few who are rich, or by influence, to fleece 
the many who are poor. Both rich and poor, 
then rnuft be made independent, that equal juf- 
tice may be done, and equal liberty enjoyed by 
all. To expeft that in a fingle fovereign aflem- 
bly no load fhall be laid upon any but what is 
common to all, nor to gratify the paflions of any, 
but only to fupply the neceflities of their country, 
is altogether chimerical. Such an aflembly, under 
an awkward unwieldy form, becomes at once a fim- 
ple monarchy in efFeft : fome one overgrown ge- 
nius, fortune, or reputation, becomes a defpot, who 
rules the ftate at his pleafure, while the deluded 
nation, or rather a deluded maiority, thinks itfelf 
free ; and in every refolve, law, and at of go- 
vernment, you fee the interefl, fame, and power, 
of that fingle individual attended to more than 
the general good. 

It is agreed, that " if any be never fo good a 
cc patriot," (whether his power be prolonged or 
not) " he will find it hard to keep felf from 
" creeping in upon him, and prompting him to 
" fome extravagances for his own private bene- 
'* fit." But it is afferted, that power will be pro- 

300 The right Conftitution of a 

longed in the hands of the fame patriot, the 
fame rich, able, powerful, and weli-defcended 
citizen, &c. as much as if he had a feat for life, 
or an hereditary feat in the fenate, and, what is 
more deftructive, his power and influence is con- 
ftantly increafing, fo that felf is more certainly 
and rapidly growing upon him; whereas, . in 
the other cafe, it is denned, limited, and never 
materially varies. If, in the firft cafe, " he 
" be fhortly to return to a condition common 
" -with the reft of his brethren," it is only fora 
moment, or a day, or a week, in order to be re- 
elected with frefh eclat, redoubled popularity, 
increafed reputation, influence, and power. Self- 
intereft, therefore, binds him to propagate a falfe 
report and opinion, that he ct does nothing but 
" what is juft and equal," while in fact he is 
every day doing what is unjuft and unequal.; 
while .he is applying all the offices of the ftate, 
great and frriall, the revenues of the public, and 
even the judicial power, to the augmentation of 
his own wealth and honours, and thofe of his 
friends, and to the punifhment, depreffion, and 
deftruction of his enemies, with the acclamations 
and hofannas of the majority of the people. 

" This, without controverfy, muft needs be the 
" moft noble, the moft juft, and the moft excel- 
" lent way of government in free ftates," provid- 
ed our author meant only a mixed ftate, in which , 
the people have an eflential fhare, and the com- 
mand of the. public purfe, with the judgment of 
caufes and accufations as jurors, while their power 
is tempered and controuled by the ariftocratical 
part, of the'community in another houfe, and the 
executive in a diftinct branch. But as it is plain 
his meaning was to jumble all thefe powers in one 
centre, a fmgle aflembly of reprefentatives, it muft 


Commonwealth , examined. 361 

be pronounced the mod ignoble, unjuft, and de- 
teftable form of government ; worfe than even a 
weil-digefted fimple monarchy or ariftocracy. 
The greateft excellency of it is, that it cannot 
laft, but haftens rapidly to a revolution. 

For a further illuftratioh of this fubjeft, let a 
fuppofition be made, that in the year 1656, when 
this book was printed, the fyftem of it had been 
reduced to practice : A fair, full, and jufl reprefen- 
tation of the people of England appears in the 
houfe of commons in Weftminfter-hall ; my lord 
general Cromwell is returned for Weftminfter or 
London; Ireton, Lambert, &c. for other princi- 
pal cities .or counties ; Monk, Sir Harry Vane, 
&c. for others ; and even Hugh Peters for fome 
borough ; all eyes profoundly bow to my lord 
general as the firft member of the houfe ; the 
other principal characters are but his primary 
planets, and the multitude but fecondary ; altoge- 
ther making a great majority in the interefl of his 
highnefs ; if the majority is clear, and able to ex- 
cite a ftrong current of popular rumours, ardor, 
and enthufiafm, in their favour, their power will 
increafe with every annual election, until Crom- 
well governs the nation more abfolutely than any 
fimple monarch in Europe. If there are in the 
houfe any members fo daring as to differ in opi- 
nion, they will loofe their feats, and more fubmif- 
five characters be returned in their places ; but 
if the great men in the houfe mould fall into 
pretty equal divifions, then would begin a warfare 
of envy, rancour, hatred and abufe of each other, 
until they divided the nation into two parties, and 
both muft take the field. Suppofe for a furjther 
illuftration, the. monarchical and ariftocraticat 
branches in England fufpended, and all authority 
lodged in the prefent houfe of commons ; fup- 


50 2 *tbe right Conftitution of a 

pofe that, in addition to all the great national quef- 
tion of legiflation, were added the promotion of 
all offices in the church, the law, the army, navy, 
cxcife, cuftoms, and all queftions of foreign alli- 
ance ; let all the foreign ambaffadors, as well as 
candidates for offices, folkit there : the contem- 
plation muft be amufing ! but there is not a mem- 
ber of the houfe could ferioufly wifh it, after 
thinking a moment on the confequence. The 
objects are fmaller, and the prefent temptations 
Jefs, in our American houfes ; but the impro- 
priety would be equally obvious, though perhaps 
not fo inftantaneoufly deftructive. 

Our author proceeds to prove his doctrine by 
examples out of Roman hiftory. " What more 
<c noble patriots were there ever in the world than 
" the Roman fenators were, while they were 
<c kept under by their kings, and felt the fame 
* c burthens of their fury, as did the reft of the 
" people ?" 

If by the patriots are meant men who were 
brave and active in war to defend the common- 
wealth againft its enemies, the Roman fenators 
and patricians were, under the kings, as good 
patriots as the plebeians were, and no better. 
Whether they were ever kept under by their 
kings, or whether their kings were kept under by 
them, I fubmit to Livy and Dionyfius. The 
whole line of their kings, Romulus, Numa, Tul- 
lus, Ancus, Lucius Tarquinius, Servius Tullius, 
were meritorious princes ; yet the patricians and 
fenators maintained a continual feries of cabals 
againft them, conftantly confpiring to fet up one, 
and pull down another, Romulus was put to 
death by the patricians ; Tullus Hoftilius was 
murdered by the patricians ; Lucius Tarquinius 
was aflafiinated by the . patricians ; and Servius 


Commonwealth, examined. 303 

Tullius too was murdered by the patricians, to 
make way for Tarquin. Some of thefe excellent 
princes were deftroyed for being too friendly to 
the people, and others for not being fervile 
enough to the fenate. If it is patriotifm to perfe- 
cute to death every prince who had an equitable 
defire of doing juftice, and eafmg the burthens of 
the plebeians ; to intrigue in continual factions 
to fet up one king and butcher another ; to coa- 
fider friendfhip, and humanity, and equity, to the 
plebeians as treafon againft the ftate, and the 
higheft crime that could be committed either by 
a king or patrician ; then the Roman fenators 
under the kings were noble patriots. But the 
utmoft degrees of jealoufy, envy, arrogance, am- 
bition, rancour, rage, and cruelty, that ever con- 
ftituted the ariftocratical or oligarchical character 
.in Sparta, Venice, Poland, or wherever unbalanc- 
ed ariftocratics have exifted and been mofl enor- 
mous, exifted in the Roman patricians under their 

What can our author mean by the fenate and 
people's " feeling the burthens of the fury of their 
" kings ?" Surely he had read the Roman hiftory ! 
Did he mean to reprefent it ? The whole line of 
Roman kings, until we come to Tarquin the 
Proud, were mild, moderate princes, and their 
greateft fault, in the eyes of the fenators, was an 
endeavour now and then to protect the people 
againft the tyranny of the fenate. Their greateft 
fault, in the judgment of truth, was too much 
complaifance to the fenate, by making the con- 
ftitution more ariftocratical : witnefs the aflem- 
blies by centuries inftituted by Servius Tullius. 

But Nedham fhould have confidered what 
would have been the fruits in Rome, from the 
time of Romulus, of annual elections of fenators to 


304 The right Conftitutlon of a 

be vefted with fupreme power, with all the au- 
thority of the king, fenate, and people. All thofe 
perfons whofe names we now read as kings, and 
all thofe who are mentioned as fenators, would 
have caballed with the people as well as one 
another. Their paflions would not have been 
extinguifhed ; the fame jealoufy and envy, ambi- 
tion and avarice, revenge and cruelty, would have 
been difplayed in aflemblies of the people : fome- 
times one junto would have been popular, fome- 
' times another ; one fet of principles would have 
prevailed one year, and another the next ; now 
one law, then another ; at this time one rule of 
property, at that another ; riots, tumults, and 
battles, would have been fought continually ; the 
law would have been a perfect Proteus. But 
as this confufion could not lafl long, either a 
fimple monarchy, or an ariftocracy, muft have 
arifen ; thefe might not have lafted long, and all 
the revolutions defcribed by Plato and Ariftotle 
as growing out of one another, ana that we fee in 
the Greek, Roman, and . Italian republics, did 
grow out of one another, muft have taken place, 
until the people, weary of changes, would have 
fettled under a fingle tyranny and {landing army, 
unlefs they had been wife enough to eftablifh a 
well-ordered government of three branches. It is 
eafy to mifreprefent and confound things in order 
to make them anfwer a purpofe, but it was not 
becaufe the authority -was permanent or Jlanding^ 
or hereditary ', that the behaviour of the fenate was 
worfe after the expulfion of the kings than it had 
been under them ; for the dignity of patricians, 
and the authority of fenators, was equallyyfow^/ttg', 
permanent L , and hereditary ', under the kings, from 
the institution of Romulus to the expulfion of 
Tarquin, as it was afterwards, from the expulfion 


Commonwealth^ examined. 305 

of Tarquin to the inftitution of tribunes, and in- 
deed to the fubverfion of the commonwealth. Ic 
was not its permanency, but its omnipotence, its 
being unlimited, unbalanced, uncontrouled, that oc- 
cafioned the abufe ; and this is percifely what we 
contend for, that power is always abufed when 
unlimited and unbalanced, whether it be perma- 
nent or temporary, a didinction that makes little 
difference in efFeft. The temporary has often 
been the word of the two, becaufe it has often been 
fooner abufed, and moregrofsly, in order to ob- 
tain its revival at the dated period. It is agreed 
that patricians, nobles, fenators, the ariftocratical 
part of the community, call it by what name you 
pleafe, are noble patriots when they are kept 
under ; they are really then the bed men and the 
bed citizens : but there is no poflibility of keep- 
ing them under but by giving them a mader in a 
monarchy, and two maders in a free government- 
One of the maders I mean is the executive power 
in the fird magidrate, and the other is the people 
in their houfe of reprefentatives. Under thefe 
two maders they are, in general, the bed men, 
citizens, magidrates, generals, or other' officers j 
they are the guardians, ornaments, and glory of the 

Nedham talks of " fenate and people's feeling 
" the burthens of the fury of the kings ;" but as 
we cannot accufe this writer of ignorance, this 
mud have been either artifice or inadvertence. 
There is not in the whole Roman hidory fo happy 
a period as this under their kings. * The whole 
line were excellent characters, and fathers of their 
people, notwithdanding the continual cabals of 
the nobles againd them. The nation was formed, 
their morality, their religion, the maxims of their 
government, were all edablifhed under thefe kings: 

VOL. III. R r the 

306 The right C on/It tution of a 

the nation Was defended againft innumerable and 
warlike nations of enemies ; in ihort, Rome was 
never fo well governed or fo happy. As foon as 
the monarchy was abolifhed, and an ambitious 
republic of haughty alpiring ariftocratics was 
erected, they were feized with the ambition 'of 
conqueft, and became a torment to themfelves and 
the world. Our author confefles, that " being 
" freed from the kingly yoke, and having fecured 
ce all power within the hands of themfelves and 
" their pofterity, they fell into the fame abfurdities 
" that had been before committed by their kings, 
" fo that this new yoke became more intolerable 
" than the former/' It would be more conform- 
able to the truth of hiftory to fay that they con- 
tinued to behave exactly as they had done ; but 
having no kings to murder, they had only people 
to deftroy. The fovereign power was in them 
under the kings, arid their greateft animofity 
againft their kings, next to the ambitious defireof 
getting into their places, was their too frequent 
patronage of the people. The only change made 
by the revolution was to take off a little awe 
which the name of king infpired. The office, 
with all its dignities, authorities, and powers, was 
in fact continued under the tttle of conful ; it was 
made annually elective it is true, and became ac- 
cordingly a mere tool of the fenate, wholly clefti- 
tute of any power or will to protect plebeians, a 
difpofitiori which the hereditary kings always dif- 
covered more or lefs, and thereby became odious 
fo the fenate ; for there is no fin or crime fo hei- 
nous, in the judgment of patricians, as for any one 
of their own rank to court plebeians, or become 
their patron, protector, or friend. 

It is very true that " the new yoke was more 
" intolerable than the old, nor could the peo- 


Commonwealth , examined. 307 

** pie find any remedy until they procured that 
" neceflary office of the tribunes." This was 
fome remedy, but a very feeble and ineffectual 
one : nor, if the people had inftituted an annual af- 
fembly of 500 reprefentatives, would that have been 
an efFe&ual remedy, without a plenary executive- 
power in the confu'l; the fenate and affembly would 
have been foon at war, and the leader of the vic- 
torious army matter of the (late. If "the tri- 
*' bunes, by being vefted with a temporary au- 
" thority by the people's election, remained the 
" more fenfible of their condition," the American 
governors and fenators, vefted as they are with a 
temporary authority by the people's election, will 
remain fenfible of their condition too. If they do 
not become too fenfible of it, and difcover that 
flattery, and bribery, and partiality, are better cal- 
culated to procure renovations of their authority, 
than honefty, liberty, and equality, happy indeed 
ihall we all be ! 

66 What more excellent patriot could there be 
" than Manlius, till he became corrupted by time 
" and power ?" Is it a clear cafe that Manlius was 
corrupted ? To me he appears the bed patriot in 
Roman hiflory : the moft humane, the mofl 
equitable ; the greateft friend of liberty, and the 
moil defirous of a conftitution truly free ; the real 
friend of the people, and the enemy of tyranny in 
every fhape, as well as the greateft hero and war- 
riour of his age a much greater character than 
Camillas. Our author's expreffion implies, that 
<c there was no greater patriot/ ' until he faw the 
neceflityof new-modelling the conftitution, and 
\vas concerting meafures upon the true principle of 
liberty, the authority of the people, to place checks 
upon the fenate. But Manlius is an unfortunate 
inftance for our author. It was not time and 


The right Conftitutlon of a 

power that infpired. him with his defigns ; the 
jealoufy and envy of the fenate had removed him 
from power : he was neither conful, dictator, nor 
general. Ariftocratical envy had fet up Camillus, 
and continued him in power, both as conful and 
dictator, on purpofe to rival and mortify Manlius, 
It was difcontinuance of power then that corrupt- 
ed him, if he was corrupted ; and this generally 
happens, difappointed candidates for popular elec- 
tions are as often corrupted by their fall from 
power, as hereditary ariftocratics by their conti- 
nuance in it. 

" Who more noble, courteous, and well affect - 
< ed to the common good than Appius Claudius 
* c at fir ft ? But afterwards, having obtained acon- 
c tinuation of the government in his own hands, 
* c he foon loft his primitive innocence and integ- 
" rity, and devoted himfelf to all the practices 
* c of an abfolute tyrant." This is very true, but 
it was not barely continuation of power, it was 
abfolute power, that did the mifdiief. If the 
power had been properly limited in degree, it 
might have been continued, without limitation of 
time, without corrupting him : though it might be 
better to limit it, both in degree and in time ; 
and it muft never, be forgotten that it was the 
people, not the fenate, that continued him in 

The fenate acted an arbitrary and reprehenfible 
part, when they thought to continue Lucius C)uin- 
tius in the confulfliip longer than the time limited 
by law : by violating the law they became tyrants, 
and their act was void. That gallant man acted 
only the part of a good citizen in refufing to fet 
a precedent fo prejudicial to the Roman conftitu- 
tion ; his magnanimity merits praife : but per- 
haps he was the only fenator who would have 


Commonwealth, axamlned. 309 

refufed,and we cannot fafely reckon upon fuch 
felf-denial in forming any conftitution of govern- 
ment. But it may be depended on, that when 
the whole power is in one aflembly, whether of 
patricians or plebeians, or any mixture of both, a 
favourite will be continued in power whenever the 
majority wifhes it, and every conceivable funda- 
mental law, or even oath, againfl it will be dif- 
penfed with. 

A feventh reafon, why a people qualified with 
a due and orderly fucceflion of their fupreme 
afiemblies are the bed keepers of their own 
liberties, is " becaufe, as in other forms, thofe 
" perfons only have accefs to government who 
" are apt to ferve the luft and will of the prince, 
" or elfe are parties or compilers with fome 
* c popular faction ; fo in this form of government 
* c by the people, the door of dignity (lands open 
* c to all, without exception, that afcend thither 
*' by the fteps of worth and virtue : the confider- 
" ation whereof hath this noble effect in free 
" ftates, that it edges men's fpirits with an active 
" emulation, and raifeth them to a lofty pitch of 
" defign and action." 

This is a mafs of popular afiertions, either ha- 
zarded at random, or, if aimed at a point, very 
little guarded by the love of truth. It is no 
more true, that in other forms thofe perfons only 
have accefs to government who are apt to ferve 
the luft and will of a prince or a faction, than it 
is that, in our author's form, thofe only would 
obtain elections who will ferve the lufts and wills 
of the moft idle, vicious, and abandoned of the 
people, at the expence of the labour, wealth, and 
reputation of the moft induftrious, virtuous, and 
pious. The door of dignity, in fuch a govern* 


3 1 a The right Conftltution of a 

jnent, is fo far from (landing open to all of worth 
and virtue, that, if the executive and judicial 
powers are managed in it, virtue and worth will 
foon be excluded. In an abfolute monarchy the 
road to preferment may He open to all. In 
an ariftocracy, the way of promotion may be 
open to all, and all offices in the executive de- 
partment, as in the army, navy, courts of juflice, 
foreign embaffies, revenues, &c. may be filled 
from any clafs of the people. In a mixed govern- 
ment, confiding of three branches, all offices ever 
will be open, for when the popular branch is def- 
tined exprefsly to defend the rights of the people, 
it is not probable they will ever confent to a law 
that mail exclude any clafs of their conflituents. 
In this kind of government, indeed, the chance 
for merit to prevail is greater than in any other. 
The executive having the appointment to all 
offices, and the minifters of that executive being 
refponfible for every exercife of their power, they 
are more cautious ; they are refponfible to their 
matter for the recommendations they give, and to 
the nation and its repreientatives for the appoint- 
ments that are made : whereas a fingle repre- 
fentative aflembly is accountable to nobody. If 
it is admitted that each member is accountable to 
his conftituents for the vote he gives, what is the 
penalty ? No other than not to vote for him at 
the next election. And what punifhment is that f 
His confHtuents know nor care any thing about 
any offices or officers but fuch as lie within the 
limits of their parifh : ancj let him vote right or 
wrong about all others, he has equally their 
thanks and future votes. What can the people of 
the cities, countries, boroughs, and corporations 
in England know of the characters of all the gene- 

Commonwealth, examined. 

rals, admirals, ambafiadors, judges, andbifhops, 
whom they never faw, nor perhaps heard of? 

But was there never a Sully, Colbert, Malefher- 
bes, Turgot, or Neckar, called to power in France? 
nor a Burleigh, nor a Pitt, in England ? Was 
there never a Camillus appointed by a fenate, nor 
a De Ruyter, Van Tromp, or De Witt, by an 
ari-ftocratical body ? When a writer is not careful 
to confine himfelf to truth, but allows himfelf a 
latitude of affirmation and denial, merely addrelT- 
ed to an ignorant populace, there is no end of 
ingenuity in invention. In this cafe his object 
was to run down an exiled king, and a deprefled 
nobility ; and it mud be confefled he is not very 
delicate in his means. There are, in truth, exam- 
ples innumerable of excellent generals, admirals, 
judges, ambafladors, bifhops, and of all other 
officers and magiflrates appointed by monarchs, 
abfolute as well as limited, and by hereditary fc~ 
nates ; excellent appointments have been alfo 
made by popular aflemblies : but candour muft 
allow, that very weak, injudicious, and unfortu- 
nate choices have been fometimes made by fuch 
aflemblies too. But the bed appointments for a 
courfe of time have invariably been made in 
mixed governments. The " a&ive emulation'* 
in free flates is readily allowed ; but it is not lefs 
active, lefs general, or lefs lofty, in defign or action, 
in mixed governments than in fimple ones, even 
fimple democracies, or thofe which approach 
neareft to that defcription : and the inftances 
alledged from the Roman hiftory are full proofs of 

" During the vaflalage of the Romans under 
** kings, we read not of any notable exploits, but 
" find them confined within a narrow compafs ; 
" oppreffed at home, and ever and anon ready to 



The Right Conft button of a 

befwallowcd up by. their enemies." It is really 
impoflible to guefs where this author learnt his 
hiftory. The reigns of the kings are a complete 
confutation of his aflertions. The vaflalage was 
to the nobles, if to any body, under the kings. 
The kings were friends and fathers of the people 
in general. If the people were opprefled at home, 
it was by the patricians ; but they appear to have 
been much lefs opprefled than they were under 
the ariftocracy which fucceeded the abolition of 
monarchy, as our author himfelf confeffes. " But 
" when the people were made free, indeed, and 
" the people admitted into a {hare and intereft in 
" the government, as well as the great ones, then 
" it was that their power began to exceed the 
". bounds of Italy, and afpire towards that pro- 
" digious empire." Was Rome ever a free ftate, 
according to our author's idea of a free flate ? 
Were the people ever governed by a fucceflion of 
fovereign power in their aflemblies ? Was not the 
fenate the real fovereign, through all the changes, 
from Romulus to Julius Csefar ? When the tri- 
bunes were inftituted, the people obtained a check 
upon the fenate, but not a balance. The utmofl 
that can with truth be faid is, that it was a mixed 
government compofed of three powers ; the mo- 
narchical in the kings or confuls, the ariftocra- 
tical in the fenate, and the democratical in the 
people and their tribunes, with the principal fhare 
and real fovereignty in the fenate. The mixture 
xvas unequal, and the balance inadequate ; but it 
was this mixture, with all its imperfections, that 
cc edged men's fpirits with an active emulation, 
" and raifed them to a lofty pitch of defign and 
" a&ion." It was in confequence of this compo- 
fitjon, that " their thoughts and power began to ex- 

* c ceed 

Commonwealth, examined. 313 

" ceed the bounds of Italy, and afpire towards 
sc that prodigious empire." In fuch a mixture, 
where the people have a mare, and Cfc the road to 
" preferment lies plain to every man, no public 
" work is done, nor any conqueft made, but every 
" man thinks he does and conquers for himfelP* 
in fome degree. But this fentiment is as vivid 
and a&ive, furely, where the people have an equal 
ihare with the fenate, as where they have only an 
imperfect check by their tribunes. When our 
author advances, " that it was not alliance, nor 
" friendfhip, nor faction, nor riches, that could 
" advance men," he affirms more than can be 
proved from any period of the Roman or any 
other hiftory. If he had contented himfelf with 
faying, that thefe were not exclufive or principal 
caufes of advancement, it would have been as 
great a panegyric as any nation at any period has 
deferved. Knowledge, valour, and virtue, were 
often preferred above them all ; and, if we add, ge- 
nerally ', it is as much as the truth will bear. Our 
author talks of a preference of virtuous poverty j 
but there was no moment in the Roman, or any 
other hiftory, when poverty, however virtuous, 
was preferred for its own fake. There have been 
times and countries when poverty was not an in- 
fuperable objection to the employment of a man 
in the higheft ftations ; but an ablolute love of 
poverty, and a preference of a man for that attri- 
bute alone, never exifted out of the imaginations 
of enthufiaftic writers. 

In the Roman ftory, fonie few of their brave 
patriots and conquerors were men of fmall for- 
tune, and of fo rare a temper of fpirit, that they 
little cared to improve them, or enrich themfelves 
by their public employment. Some, indeed, were 
buried at the public charge. And perhaps this 

VOL. III. S s racs 

3 1 4 "The right Constitution of a 

race is not quite extinct ; but the examples are fo 
rare, that he who (hall build his frame of govern- 
ment upon a preemption that characters of this 
itamp will arife in fucceflion, in fiifficient num- 
bers to preferve the honour and liberty, and pro- 
mote the profperity of his people, will find himfelf 
miftaken. " The time will come," faid a Roman 
fenator, ." when Horatii and Valerii will not be 
" found to forego their private for tunes for the fake 
" of plebeian liberty." His prediction was fulfilled ; 
and a fimilar prophecy will be accomplimed in 
every nation under heaven. The inftances too 
of this kind, in the Roman hiftory, are all of pa- 
tricians and fenators : we do not find one exam- 
ple of a popular tribune who was fo in love with 
poverty. Cincinnatus was a patrician, a fenator 
of a fplendid family and no mean fortune, until 
his fon Ca^fo was profecuted, and obliged to fly 
from his bail. The father had too noble and 
fublime a fpirit to let the bail be ruined, and fold 
his fortune to pay the forfeiture : when this was 
done, he had only 'four or fix acres left. But who 
was it that made him dictator ? Not the people, 
nor the tribunes, but the fenate, that very Hand- 
ing power againft which our author's whole book 
is written : by no means by a fucceflive fove- 
reignty of the people's reprefentatives, which our 
author all along contends for. Had the appoint- 
ment of a dictator at that time lain with the peo- 
ple, mod probably a richer man would have had 
the preference. He behaved with fo much mag- 
nanimity, integrity, and wifdom, that he fubdued 
the enemy, and quitted his authority with all wil- 
lingnefs, and returned to painful private life. 
This example is a good argument for a mixed go- 
vernment, and for a fenate as an eflential part of 
it j but no argument for a fucceflive fovereignty 


Commonwealth, examined 3 1 5 

in the people's reprefentatives. Gracchus, Ma- 
rius, Sylla, and Caefar, whofe elevation to power 
was by the people, in oppofition to the fenate, 
did not exhibit fuch moderation and contentment. 
Our author's other examples of Lucius Tar- 
quin, and Attilius Regulus, by no means prove 
fuch difinterefted and magnanimous virtue to be 
ordinary in that flate, nor Lucius Paulus .ZEmi- 
lius. Lucius Tarquin, or Lucius Tarquinius Col- 
latinus, was not only a patrician and a fenator, 
but of the royal family, and therefore by no 
means an example to (how what the conduct of a 
general, or other officer or magiflrate, will be, 
who (hall be appointed by a majority of the peo- 
ple's fucceffive annual reprefentatives. He was 
the hufband of Lucretia, whofe blood had ex- 
pelled the king. It was in an aiTembly of the cen- 
turies, where the fenate were all powerful, that he 
was appointed confui with Brutus. Valerius was 
the favourite of the plebeians. Collatia had been 
given by the king to Ancus Tarquin, becaufe he had 
no eftate ; and from thence the family were called 
Collatings. At the fiege of Ardea the frolic com- 
menced between Collatinus and the other young 
Tarquins, over wine, which ended in the vifit to 
their wives, which proved at firft fo honourable to 
the domeftic virtues of Lucretia, and afterwards 
fo fatal to her life ; it occafioned alfo the expul- 
fion of kings, and inftitution of confuls. Brutus 
and Collatinus were created confuls, but by whom ? 
By the people, it is true, but it was in their af- 
fembly by centuries ; fo that it was the fenate and 
paft-icians who decided the vote. If the people 
in their tribes, or by their fucceffive reprefenta- 
tives, had made the ele&ion, Collatinus would 
not have been chofen, but Valerius, who expeded 
it, and had moil contributed, next to Bnutus, to 


316 The right Conftitution of a 

the revolution. And, by the way, we may obferve 
here, that an averfion to public honours and offices 
by no means appears in the behaviour of the virtu- 
ous and popular Valerius. His defire of the office 
of confui was fo ardent, that his difappointment and 
chagrin induced him, in a fullen ill-humour, to 
withdraw from the fenate and the forum, and re- 
nounce public affairs ; which fo alarmed the people, 
that they dreaded his reconciliation and coalition 
with the exiled family. He foon removed his jea- 
loufy, by taking the oath by which Brutus wanted 
to bind the fenate againft kings and kingly govern- 
ment. All the art of the patricians, with Brutus at 
their head, was now exerted, to intoxicate the peo- 
ple with fuperftition. Sacrifices and ceremonies were 
introduced, and the confuls approaching the altar, 
fwore, for themfelves, their children, and all pof- 
terity, never to recal Tarquin or his fons, or any 
of his family ; that the Romans mould never more 
be governed by kings ; that thofe who mould 
attempt to reftore monarchy mould be clevoted to 
the infernal gods, and condemned to the mod 
cruel torments : and an abhorrence of royalty be- 
came the predominant character of the Romans, 
to fuch a degree, that they could never bear the 
name of king, even when, under the emperors, 
they admitted much more than the thing in an un- 
limited defpo/ifm. But is the caufe of liberty, 
are the rights of mankind, to ftand for ever on no 
better a foundation than a blind fuperftition, and 
a popular prejudice againft a word, a mere name ? 
It was really no mere in this cafe : for even 
Brutus himfelf intended that the confuls mftuld 
have all the power of the kings ; and it was only 
againft a family and a name that he declared 
war. If nations and people cannot be brought 
to a more rational way of thinking, and to judge 


Commonwealth, examined, 317 

of things, inftead of being intoxicated with pre- 
judice and fuperftition againft words, it cannot be 
expected that truth, virtue, or liberty, will have 
much chance in the eftablifhment of governments. 
The monarchical and ariftocratical portions of 
ibciety will for ever underftand better how to ope- 
rate on the fuperftition, the prejudices, paffions, 
fancies, and fenfes of the people, than the demo- 
cratical, and therefore will for ever worm out 
liberty, if me has no other refource. 

Tarquin, by his ambafladors, folicited at lead 
the reftoration of his property. Brutus oppofed 
it. Collatinus, the other conful, advocated the de- 
mand of his royal banifhed coufm. The fenate was 
divided : the queftion was referred to the people 
aflembled by centuries. The two confuls zealoufly 
fupported their different opinions. Collatinus pre- 
vailed by one vote. Tarquin's ambafladors re- 
joice and intrigue. A confpiracy was formed, in 
which a great part of the young nobility was con- 
cerned : two of the Vitellii, fons of Collatinus's 
fifter, and brothers of Brutus's wife ; two of ,the 
Aquilii, fons of another fifter of Collatinus, as 
well as two of Brutus's fons, were engaged in it. 
When the confpiracy was discovered, Brutus alone 
was inexorable. Callatinus endeavoured to fave 
his nephews. Collatinus, as the hufband of Lu- 
cretia, appears to have been actuated by refent- 
ment againft the perfon of Tarquin, but not to 
have bean very hearty in the expulfion of the fa- 
mily, or the abolition of monarchy. His warmly 
contending for the reftitution of Tarquin's ef- 
fects, and his averfion to the condemnation of the 
confpirators, completed his ruin with Brutus. 
He aflembled the people, and was very forry that 
the Roman people did not think their liberties 
fafe while they law the name and blood of Tar- 
<juin not only fafe in Rome, but vefted with fo- 


3 1 8 The right Conftitution of a 

vereign power, and a dangerous obflacle to li- 
berty. Collatinus was amazed at fuch a fpeech, 
and prepared to defend himfelf from this attack ; 
but rinding his father-in-law Spurius Lucretius 
join Brutus, and other principal men, in perfuading 
him, and fearing that he mould be forced into 
banimment, with the confifcation of his eftate, he 
abdicated the confulfliip, and retired to Lavini- 
um : but he carried all his effe&s with him, and 
twenty talents, or ^C-3'^75 fterling, to which Bru- 
tus added five talents more, a moft enormous fum, 
if we confider the univerfal poverty of that age, 
and the high value of money. Is it pofTible to 
find, in this character and conduct of Collatinus, 
fuch difmterefted and magnanimous virtue as our 
author fpeaks of ? Is this an example to prove 
that difinterefted virtue was frequent in that ftate ? 
He muft have been dead to every manly feeling, 
if he had not refented the rape and death of his 
wife. He did not retire but to avoid banifh- 
rnent ; nor was he contented without his whole 
eftate, and a fplendid addition to it : fo that 
there is fcarcely a character or anecdote in hiftory 
lefs to our author's purpofe in any point of view. 
There is an extravagance in many popular wri- 
ters in favour of republican governments, which 
injures much oftener than it ferves the caufe of li- 
berty. Such is that of our author, when he cites 
the example of Regulus. Let us firft remember, 
however, that Regulus was a patrician and a fe- 
nator, and that he was appointed to his command, 
and continued in it, by the fenate ; and therefore, 
inftead of being an example in honour of a fim- 
ple or a reprefentative democracy, it operates in 
favour of an ariflocracy, or at mod in favour of 
a mixed government, in which an ariflocracy has 
one full third part. Regulus had been in a courfe 


Commonwealth, examined. 3 1 9 

of victory, which the fenate would not interrupt, 
and therefore continued him in the command of 
the army. He wrote to the fenate to complain 
of it. The glory of it to himfelf, the advantage 
to the public, was not reward enough for him. 
He demanded a fucceffbr ; and what was his rea- 
fon ? A thief had flolen his tools of hufbandry 
ufed in manuring ; his tenant was dead, and his 
prefence was abfolutely neceffary to prevent his 
wife and children from ftarving. Is it poflible 
to read this without laughter and indignation ; 
laughter at the folly of that government which 
made fo poor a provifion for its generals, and in- 
dignation at the fordid avarice of that fenate and 
people, who could require a threat of refignation 
from the conquerer of Carthage to induce them 
to provide for his wife and children. The fenate 
decreed that his field mould be cultivated at the 
public expence, that his working tools mould be 
replaced, and his wife and children provided for. 
Then, indeed, Regulus's averfion to the fervice 
was removed : to fuch {ordid condefcenfions to 
the prejudices and the meannefs of the flingy and 
envious parts of the community are fuch exalted 
fouls as that of Regulus obliged fometimes to 
fubmit ; but the eternal panegyrics of republican 
writers, as they call themfelves, will never recon- 
cile mankind to any thing fo ridiculous and con- 
temptible. The labourer is worthy of his hire : 
he who labours for the public mould live by the 
public, as much as he who preaches the gofpel 
fhould live by the gofpel ; and thefe maxims^ of 
equity are approved by all the generous part of 
mankind. And the people whofe heads are turn- 
ed with contracted notions of a contrary nature, 
will for ever be the dupes of the defigning ; for 


320 The right Conftltution of a 

where you will find a fmgle Regulus, you will find 
ten thoufand Caefars. 

The example of Paulus .ZEmilius is equally 
hoftile to our author's fyftem, and equally friendly 
to that which we contend for. The firft conful 
of that name, the conqueror of Illyricum, in 533, 
although he returned to Rome in triumph, yet, at 
the expiration of his office he was cited before 
the people, in their tribes, and accufed of having 
converted part of the fpoils to his own ufe. JEmi- 
lius had great difficulty to efcape the condemna- 
tion which his colleague fuffered. This great pa- 
trician and conful commanded, and was killed at 
the battle of Cannae. His fon, of the fame name, 
whofe fitter jEmilia was married to the great 
Scipio, diflinguifhed himfelf by avoiding thofe 
intrigues, folicitations, carefles, and other arti- 
fices, pra&ifed by mod candidates, even at this 
time, 562. His pains were employed to make 
himfelf efteemed by valour, juftice, and ardor in 
his duty, in which he furpaffed'all the young men 
of his age. He carried the aedilemip againft ten 
competitors, every one of whom was fo diftin- 
guifhed by birth and merit, as afterwards to ob- 
tain the confulfhip. By his wife Papiria he had 
two Tons, whom he procured to be adopted into 
the moft illuftrious houfes in Rome ; the eldeft 
by Fabius Maximus, five times conful and dida- 
tor ; the younger by a fon of Scipio Africanus. 
His two daughters he married, one to a fon of 
Cato the Cenfor, and the other to Tubero. In 
563 he gained a complete victory over the Lufi- 
tanians, in which he'killed them eighteen thou- 
fand men, and took their camp, with thirteen 
hundred prifoners. In the offices of Redile, and of 
augur, he excelled all his contemporaries in the 
knowledge and praftice of his duty j and military 


Commonwealth , examined. 32 i 

discipline he carried to greater perfe&ion than had 
ever been known : neverthelefs, when he flood 
for any office, even in thefe virtuous times, there 
was always an oppofition ; and he could not ob- 
tain the confullhip till after he had fuffered feveral 
repulfes. Why ? Becaufe his virtue was too fe- 
vere ; not for the fenate, but the people ; and be- 
caufe he would not flatter and bribe the people. 
Before the end of the year of his firft' confulate he 
fought the Ligurians, and gained a complete vic- 
tory over them, killing more than fifteen thou- 
fand men, and making near three thoufand pri- 
foners, and returned to Rome in triumph : yet 
with all this merit, when he flood candidate, fome 
years after, for the confulate, the people rejected 
him ; upon this he retired to educate his chil- 
dren. He was frugal in every thing of private 
luxury, but magnificent in expences of public 
duty. Grammarians, rhetoricians, philosophers, 
fculptors, painters, equerries, hunters, were pro- 
cured for the inflruclion of his children. While 
he was thus employed in private life, in 583, 
fourteen years after his firft confulfhip, the affairs 
of the republic were ignorantly conducted, and the 
Macedonians, with Perfeus at their head, gained 
great advantages againfl them. People were not 
fatisfied with the conduft of the confuls of late 
years, and began to fay, that the Roman name was 
not fupported. The cry was, that the command of 
armies mud no longer be biven to faction and fa- 
vour. The fingular merit of JEmilius, his fplen- 
did fervices, the confidence which the troops had 
in his capacity, and the urgent neceflity of the 
times for his wifdom and firmnefs, turned all eyes 
upon him. All his relations, and the fenators in 
general, urged him to fland candidate. He had 
already experienced fo much ingratitude, injuflice, 
VOL. III. T t and 

The right Conftitution of a 

and caprice, that he fhunned the prefent ardor, and 
chofe to continue in private life. That very people 
, who had fo often ill ufed him, and rejected him, 
now crowded before his door, and infifted on his 
going to the forurn ; and his prefence there was 
univerfally confidered as a fure prefage of victory, 
and he was unanimoufly elected conful, and ap- 
pointed commander in Macedonia. He con- 
quered Perfeus and his Macedonian phalanx, and 
in the battle he formed Fabius's and Scipios to 
be the glory and triumph of his country after 
him. He plundered the immenfe wealth of Ma- 
cedonia and Epirus : he plundered feventy cities, 
and demolimed their walls. The fpoils were fold, 
and each foldier had two hundred denarii, and 
each of the hcrfe four. The foldiers and com- 
mon people, it feems, had little of that difinte- 
reftednefs for which jEmilius was remarkable. 
They were fo offended at their general for giving 
fo little of the booty to them, and referving fo 
much to the public treafury, that they raifed a 
great cry and oppofition againft his triumph ; and 
Galba, the foldiers, and their friends among the 
plebeians, were determined to teach the great 
men, the confuls, generals, &c. to be lefs public- 
fpirited to defraud the treafury of its wealth, 
and beftow it upon them : they accordingly op- 
pofed the triumph of this great and difmterefted 
general, and the firft tribes abfolutely rejected it. 
Who, upon this occafion, faved the honour, 
juftice, and dignity of the republic ? Not the ple- 
beians, but the fenators * The fenators were highly 
enraged at this infamous injuftice and ingratitude, 
and this daring effort of popular licentioufnefs 
and avarice, and were obliged to make a noife, 
and excite a tumult. Servilius, too, who had 
been conful, and had killed three and twenty ene- 
>"' : , mies 

Commonwealth, examined. 

raies who has challanged him 'in flngle combat, 
made a long fpeech, in which he (hewed the bafe- 
nefs of their conduct in fo ftriking a light, that he 
made the people afhamed of themfelves ; and at 
length they confented to the triumph, but to all 
appearance more from a defire to fee the mow of 
Perfeus laden with chains, led through the city 
before the chariot of the victor, than from any 
honefl and public-fpirited defign to reward merit. 
The fum which he caufed to be carried into the 
public treafury on the day of the triumph was 
one million three hundred thoufand pounds fter- 
ling, and caufed the taxes of the Roman people 
to be i abolifhed. At his death, after the fale of 
part of his flaves, moveables, and fome farms, to 
pay his wife's dower, the remainder of his fortune 
was but nine thoufand three hundred and feventy- 
five pounds fterling. As he was defcended from 
one of the moft noble and ancient houfes of 
Rome, illuftrious by the higheft dignities, the 
fmallnefs of his fortune reflects honour on his 
anceftors as well as on himfelf. The love of fim- 
plicity was ftill fupported in fome of the great 
families, by extreme care not to ally themfelves 
with luxurious ones ; and j^Emilius chofe Tubero, 
of the family of jElii, whofe firft piece of plate 
was a filver cup of five pounds weight, given him 
by his father-in-law. Thefe few families ftem- 
med the torrent of popular avarice and extrava- 

Let us now confider what Would have been the 
fate of jflEmilius, if Rome had been governed at 
this time by Nedham's fucceflion of the people's 
repiefentatives, unchecked by the fenate. It is plain 
he muft have given into the common practice of 
flattering, carelfing, foothing, bribing, and cajol- 
ing the people, or never have been conful, never 


324 5^* r\$i Conjlitutlon of a 

commanded armies, never triumphed, .An ex- 
ample more deftrudtive of our author's fyftem can 
fcarcely be found, and yet he has the inadvertence 
at leaft to adduce it in fupport of his Right Con- 
ftitution of a Commonwealth. It has been necef- 
fary to quote thefe anecdotes at fome length, that 
we may not be deceived by a fpecious mow, which 
is deititute of fubftance, truth and fact, to fup- 
port it. 

But how come all thefe examples to be patri- 
cians and fenators, and not one inftance to be 
found of a plebeian commander who did not make 
a different ufe of his power ? 

There is a ftrange confufion or perverfion in 
what follows : " Rome never thrived until it was 
" fettled in a freedom of the people." Rome 
never was fettled in a freedom of the people ; 
meaning in a free ftate, according to our authors 
definition of it, a fucceflion of the fupreme au- 
thority in the people's reprefentatives. Such an 
idea never exifted in the Roman commonwealth, 
not even when or before the people made Caefar 
a perpetual dictator. Rome never greatly prof- 
pered until the people obtained a fmall mixture of 
authority, a flight check upon thefenate, by their 
tribunes. This, therefore, is proof in favour of 
the mixture, and againft the fyftem of eur au- 

" Freedom was bed preferved, and interefl 
" beft advanced, when all places of honour and 
* ; truft were expofed to men of merit, without 
* 6 difti action." True, but this never happened 
till the mixture took place. 

u This happinefs could never be obtained, until 
ic the people were inflated in a capacity of pre- 
^ ferring whom they thought worthy, by a free- 
* c dom of electing men fucceffively into their fu- 

" preme 

Commonwealth, examined. 325 

" preme offices and affemblies." What is meant 
here by fupreme offices? There were none in Rome 
but the dictators, and they were appointed by the 
fenate, at leaft until Marius annihilated the fenate, 
by making the tribes omnipotent. Confuls could 
ijot be called fupreme officers in any fenfe. 
What is meant by fupreme affemblies ? There 
were none but the fenate. The Roman people 
never had the power of electing a reprefentative 
affembly. cc So long as* this cuftom continued, 
" and merit took place, the people made fhift to 
" keep and increafe tfceir liberties." This cuftom 
never took place, and, ftrictly fpeaking, the Ro- 
man people never enjoyed liberty. The fenate was 
fovereign till the people fet up a perpetual dic- 

" When this cuftom lay neglected, and the 
" ftream of preferment began to run along with 
" the favour and pleafure of particular powerful 
" men, then vice and compliance making way 
66 for advancement, the people could keep their 
" liberties no longer ; but both their liberties 
c and themfelves were made the price of every 
* c man's ambition and luxury." But when was 
this ? Precifely when the people began, and in 
proportion as they approached to, an equality of 
power with the fenate, and to that ilate of 
things which our author contends for ; fo that 
the whole force of his* reafoning and examples, 
when they come to be analyzed, conclude againft 

The eighth reafon, why the people in their 
affemblies are the beft keepers of their liberty, 
is, " becaufe it is they only that are concerned in 
" the point of liberty." It is agreed that the 
people in their affemblies, tempered by another 


326 The right Conftitution of a 

coequal afiembly, aijd an executive coequal with 
either, are the bed keepers of their liberties. But 
it is denied that in one afiembly, collective or re- 
prefentative, they are the belt keepers : it may 
be reafonably queftioned, whether they are not the 
word ; becaufe they are as fure to throw away their 
liberties, as a monarch or a fenate untempered 
are to take them ; with this additional evil, that 
they throw away their morals at the fame time ; 
whereas monarchs and fenates fometimes by fe- 
verity preierve them in fome degree. In a fimple 
democracy, the fir ft citizen^and the better fort of 
citizens, are part of the people, and are equally 
" concerned" with any others " in the point of 
" liberty." But is it clear that in other forms 
of government " the main intereft and concern- 
* c ment, both of kings and gradees, lies either in 
<c keeping the people in utter ignorance what li- 
" berty is, or elfe in allowing and pleafing them 
" only with the name and (hadow of liberty in- 
* c ftead of the fubftance ?'* It is very true that 
knowledge is very apt to make people uneafy 
under an arbitrary and oppreflive government : 
but a fimple monarch, or a fovereign fenate, 
which is not arbitrary and oppreffive though abfo- 
lute, if fuch cafes can exift, would be interefted 
to promote the knowledge of the nation. It 
muft, however, be admitted, that fimple govern- 
ments will rarely if ever*favour the difperfion of 
knowledge among the middle and lower ranks 'of 
people. But this is equally true of limple demo- 
cracy : the people themfelves, if uncontrouled, 
will never long tolerate a freedom of inquiry, de- 
bate, or writing ; their idols muft not be reflected 
on, nor their fchemes and actions fcanned, upon 
pain of popular vengeance, which is not lefs terri- 
ble than that of defpots or fovereign fenators. 

" In 

Commonwealth, examined. 327 

" In free ftates, the people being fenfible of 
" their pad condition in former times under the 
" power of great ones, and comparing it with the 
" poflibilities and enjoyments of the prefent, be- 
" come immediately inflrudled, that their main 
" intereft and concernment confifts in liberty ; 
" and are taught by common fenfe, that the only 
" way to fecure it from the reach of great ones, 
" is to place it in the people's hands, adorned 
" with all the prerogatives and rights of fupre- 
4c macy." It is very true that the main intereft 
and concernment of the people is liberty. If 
their liberties are well fecured they may be happy 
if they will ; and they generally, perhaps always, 
are fo. The way to fecure liberty is to place it in 
the people's hands, that is, to give them a power 
at all times to defend it in the legiflature and in 
the courts of juftice : but to give the people, un- 
controuled, all the prerogatives and rights of fu- 
premacy, meaning the whole executive and judi- 
cial power, or even the whole undivided legifla- 
tive, is not the way to preferve liberty. In fuch 
a government it is often as great a crime to op- 
pofe or decry a popular demagogue, or any of his 
principal friends, as in a fimple /monarchy to op- 
pofe a king, or in a fimple ariftocracy the fena- 
tors : the people will ;not bear a contemptuous 
look or difrefpe&ful word ; nay, if the ftyle of 
your homage, flattery, and adoration, is not as 
hyperbolical as the popular enthufiafm dictates, 
it is conftrued into difaffe&ion ; the popular 
cry of envy, jealoufy, fufpicious temper, vanity, 
arrogance, pride, ambition, impatience of a fupe- 
rior, is fet up againft a man, and the rage and 
fury of an ungoverned rabble, ftimulated under- 
hand by the demagogick defpots, breaks out into 
every kind of infult, obloquy, and outrage, often 


328 The right Conftitution of a 

ending in murders and maflacres, like thofe 6f 
the De Witts, more horrible than any that the 
annals of defpotifm can produce. 

It is indeed true, that " the intereft of freedom 
" is a virgin that every one feeks to deflour ; and 
" like a virgin it muft be kept, or elfe (fo great is 
" the luft of mankind after dominion) there fol- 
** lows a rape upon the firft opportunity." From 
this it follows, that liberty in the legiflature is 
" more fecure in the people's hands than in any 
* c other, becaufe they are mod concerned in it :" 
provided you keep the executive power out of 
their hands entirely, and give the property and 
liberty of the rich a fecurity in the fenate, againft 
the encroachments of the poor in a popular aflem- 
bly. Without this the rich will never enjoy any 
liberty, property, reputation, or life, in fecurity. 
The rich have as clear a right to their liberty and 
property as the poor : it is eflential to liberty that 
the rights of the rich be fecured ; if they are not, 
they will foon be robbed and become poor, and in 
their turn rob their robbers, and thus neither the 
liberty or property of any will be regarded. 

" The careful attention to liberty makes the 
xc people both jealous and zealous, keeping a con- 
<c ftant guard againft the attempts and encroach- 
" ments of any powerful or crafty underminers." 
But this is true only, while they are made a diftind 
body from the executive power, and the mod con- 
fpicuouscitizens mingle all together, and a fcramble 
inftantly commences for the loaves and fifhes, abo- 
lition of debts, fhutting up courts of juftice, divi- 
ilons of property, &c. Is it not an infult to 
common fenfe, for a people with the fame breath 
to cry liberty, an abolition of debt^ and divijion of 
goods? If debts are once abolifhed, and goods are 
divided, there will be the fame reafon for a frefh 



3 2 9 

abolition and divifion every month and every day : 
and thus the idle, vicious, and abandoned, will 
live in conftant riot on the fpoils of theinduftrious, 
virtuous, and deferving. " Powerful and crafty 
underminers have no where fuch rare fport" as in 
a fimple democracy, or fimgle popular affembly. 
No where, not in the completed defpotifms, does 
human nature (how itfelf fo completely depraved, 
fo nearly approaching an equal mixture of bru- 
tality and devilifm, as in the lad ftages of fuch a 
democracy, and in the beginning of that defpot- 
ifin that always fucceeds it. 

" A people having once tailed the fweets of 
cc freedom, are fo affe&ed with it/that if they dif- 
" cover or fufpeft the lead defign to encroach 
" upon it, they count it a crime never to be for- 
" given." Strange perverfion of truth and faft ! 
This is fo far from the truth, that our author him- 
felf is not able to produce a fingle inftance of it 
as a proof or illuftration. Inftead of adducing an 
example of it from a fimple democracy, he is 
obliged to have recourfc to an example that ope- 
rates ftrongly againft him, becaufe taken from an 
ariftocracy. In the Roman (late, one gave up his 
children, another his brother to death, to revenge 
an attempt againft common liberty. Was Brutus 
a man of the people ? Was Brutus for a govern- 
ment of the people in their fovereign aflfemblies ? 
Was not Brutus a patrician ? Did he not think 
patricians a different order of beings from ple- 
beians ? Did he not ered a fimple ariftocracy ? 
Did he not facrifice his fons to preferve that 
ariftocracy ? Is it not equally probable that he 
- would have facrificed them, to preferve his arifto- 
cracy from any attempt to let -up fuch a govern- 
ment as our author contends for, or even agamic 
any attempt to have given the plebeians a fiiare 

VOL. Ill, U u in 

33 The right Conftitution of a 

in the government ; nay, againft: any attempt to 
erect the office of tribunes at that time ? ;c Di- 
tc vers facrificed their lives to preferve it." To pre- 
fer ve what ? The (landing government of grandees, 
againft which our author's whole book is written. 
" Some facrificed their beft friends to vindicate 
" it, upon bare fufpicion, as in the cafe of Melius 
" and Manlius." To vindicate what ? Liberty ? 
popular liberty ? Plebeian liberty ? Precifely the 
contrary. Thefe characters were murdered for 
daring to be friends to popular liberty ; for daring 
to think of limiting the power of the grandees, by 
introducing a lhare of popular authority, and a 
mixed conflitution ; and the people themfelves 
were fo far from the zeal, jealoufy, and love of 
liberty, that our author afcribes to them, that 
they fuffered their own authority to be proftituted 
.before their eyes, to the deftruction of the only 
friends they had, and to the eftablifhment of their 
enemies., and a form of government by grandees, 
under which they had no liberty, and in which they 
had no fhare. Qur author then cites examples of 
revenge in Greece. 1656 was a late age in the 
hiftory of philofophy, as well as morality' and 
religion, for any writer to preach revenge as a 
duty and a virtue: reafon and philanthropy, as well 
as religion, pronounce it a weaknefs and a vice in 
all pollible cafes. Examples enough of it, how- 
ever, may be found in all revolutions : but mo- 
narchies and ariflocracies have practifed it, and 
therefore the virtue of revenge is not peculiar to 
our author's plan. In Corcyra itfelf the people 
were mafTacred by the grandees as often as they 
mafiacred the grandees : and of all kinds of fpi- 
rits that we read of, out of hell, this is the laft that 
an enlightened friend of liberty would philofophi- 
cally inculcate. Let legal liberty vindicate itfelf 

Commonwealth examined. 331 

by legal punifhments and moral msafures ; but 
mobs and maifacres are the difgrace of her facred 
caufe ftill more than of that of humanity. 

Florence too, and Cofmus*, are quoted, and the 
alternatives of treachery, revenge, and cruelty ; 
all arifing, as they did in Greece, from the want of 
a proper divifion of authority and an equal balance. 
Let any one read the hiftory of the nrft Cofimo, 
his wifdom, virtues, and unbounded popularity, 
and then confider what would have been the.con- 
fequence if Florence, at that period, had been go- 
verned by our author's plan of fucceffive (ingle 
aflemblies, chofen by the people annually. It is 
plain that the people would have chofen fuch, and 
fuch only, for reprefentatives as Cofimo and his 
friends would have recommended : at leafh a vafl 
majority of them would have been his followers, 
and he would have been abfolute. It was the 
ariftocracy and the forms of the old conflitution 
that alone ferved as a check upon him. The 
fpeech of Uzzano muft convince you, that the 
people were more ready to make him abfolute 
that ever the Romans were to make Csefar a per- 
petual dictator. He confefles that Cofimo was fol- 
lowed by the whole body of the plebeians, and by 
one half of the nobles: that if Cofimo was not made 
mafter of the commonwealth, Rinaldo would be, 
whom he dreaded much more. In truth, the go- 
vernment at this time was in reality become mo^ 
narchical, and that ill-digefted ariftocracy, which 
theycalledapopular ftate,exifted only in form; and 
the perfecution of Cofimo only ferved to explain 
the fecret. Will it be denied that a nation has a 
right to choofe a government for themfelves? 
The queftion really was no more than this, whe- 
ther Rinaldo or Cofimo fhould be mafter. The 

*Sec vol. ii. p. 94. 


332 The right Conftitution of -a 

nation declared for Cofimo, reverfed that banifh- 
ment into which he had been very unjaftly fent by 
Rinaldo, demanded his return, and voted him 
the father of his country. This alone is full 
proof, that if the people had been the keepers 
of their own liberties, in their fucceflive aflem- 
blies,they would have given them all to Cofimo ; 
whereas, had there been an equal mixture of mo- 
narchy, ariftocracy, and democracy, in that con- 
flitution, the nobfes and commons would have 
united againd Cofimo the moment he attempted 
to overleap the boundaries of his legal authority. 
Uzzano confefles, that unlefs charity, liberality, 
and beneficence, were crimes, Cofimo was guilty 
of no offence, and that there was as much to 
apprehend from his own party as from the other, in 
the point of liberty. All the fubfequent attempts 
of Rinaldo to put Cofimo to death and to banifh 
him were unqualified tyranny. He faved his life, 
it is true, by a bribe, but what kind of patrons of 
liberty were thefe who would betray it for a 
bribe ? His recall and return from banimment 
Teems to have been the general voice of the na- 
tion, expreffed, according to the forms and fpirit 
of the prefent conftitution, without any appear- 
ance of fuch treachery as our author fuggefts. 
Whether Nedham knew the real hiftory of Flo- 
fence is very problematical; all his examples 
from it are fo unfortunate as to be conclufive 
againft his project of a government*. The real 
e {fence of the government in Florence had been, 
for the greateft part of fifty years, a monarchy, in 
the hands of Uzzino and Nafo, according to Ma- 
chjavel's own account ; its form an ariftocracy, 
and its name a popular ftate : nothing of the 

* See vol. ii, p. 96, -97, 98, 99. 


Commonwealth examined. 333 

efTence was changed by the reftoration of Co- 
fimo: the form and name only underwent an altera- 
tion. Holftein too is introduced, merely to make 
a (lory for the amufement of a drunken mob. 
cc Here is a health to the remembrance of our li- 
" berty," faid the "boorifh, poor, filly genera- 
u tion, 5 ' feventy years after they were made a 
duchy. Many hogfheads of ale and porter, I 
doubt not, were drank in England in confequence 
of this Holftein (lory ; and that was all the effect 
it could have towards Supporting our author's ar- 

" How deep foever the impreflion may be, that 
" is made by the love of liberty upon the minds 
" of the people, it will not follow that they alone 
" are the beft keepers of their own liberties, 
" being more tender and more concerned in their 
" fecurity than any powerful pretenders whatfo- 
" ever." Are not the fenators, whether they be 
hereditary or elective, under the influence of 
powerful motives to be .tender and concerned for 
the fecurity of liberty ? Every fenatof, who con- 
fults his reafon, knows that his own liberty, and 
that of his pofterity, mufl depend upon the con- 
ftitution which preferves it to others. What 
greater refuge can a nation have, than in a coun- 
cil, in which the national maxims, and the fpirit 
and genius of the ftate, are preferved by a living 
tradition ? What ftronger motive to virtue, and 
to the prefervation of liberty, can the human mind 
perceive, next to thofe of rewards andpunifhments 
in a future life, than the recollection of a long 
line of anceftors who have fat within the walls of 
the fenate, and guided the councils, led the armies, 
commanded the fleets, and fought the battles of the 
people, by which the nation has been fuflained 
in its infant years, defcended from dangers, and 
carried, through calamities, to wealth, grandeur, 


334 Fk e r ' l &ht C on/lit utlon of a 

profperity and glory ? What inditution more ufe- 
fal can poffibly exid, than a living repertory of 
all the hidory, knowledge, intereds, and wifdom of 
the commonwealth, and a living reprefentative of 
all the great characters whofe prudence, wifdom, 
and valour, are regiflered in the hidory and re- 
corded in the archieves of the country ? If the 
people have the periodical choice of thefe, we may 
hopethey willgenerally felect thofe, among the mod 
confpicuous for fortune, family, and wealth, who 
are mod fignalized for virtue and wifdom., which 
is more advantageous than to be confined to the 
eldefl fon, however defective, to the exclufion of 
younger fons, however excellent, and to one family 
though decayed and depraved, to anothermore de- 
ferving, as in hereditary fenates : but that a fenate, 
guarded from ambition, fhould be objected to, by a 
friend of liberty and republican governments very 
extraordinary. Let the people have a full lhare, 
and a decifive negative ; and, with this impregna- 
ble barrier againd the ambition of the fenate on one 
fide, and the executive power with an equal ne- 
gative on the other, fuch a council will be found 
the patron and guardian of liberty on many occa- 
fions, when the giddy thoughtlefs multitude, and 
even their representatives, would neglect, forget, 
or even defpife and infult it ; inftances of all which 
are not difficult to find. 

The ninth reafon is, " becaufe the people are 
" lefs luxurious than kings or grandees." That 
may well be denied. Kings, nobles, and people, 
are all alike in this refped, and in general know 
no other bounds of indulgence than the capacity 
of enjoyment, and the power fo gratify it. The 
problem ought to be to find a form of govern- 
ment bed calculated to prevent the bad effects 
and corruption of luxury, when in the ordinary 


Commonwealth^ examined. 335 

courfe of things, it muft be expe&ed to come in- 
Kings and nobles, if they are confefied to enjoy v 
or indulge in luxury more than the commons, it is 
merely becaufe they have more means and oppor- 
tunities ; not becaufe they have ftronger appetites, 
paflions, and fancies, or, in other words a ftronger 
propenfity to luxury than the plebeians. If it 
fhould be conceded, that the - paflions and appe- 
tites ftrengthen by indulgence, it muft be con- 
fefled too, that they have more motives to re- 
ftrain them ; but in regard to mere animal grati- 
fication, it may well be denied that they indulge 
or enjoy more than the common people on an 
average. Eating and drinking furely is pra&ifed 
with as much fatisfaction by the footman as his 
lord ; and as much pleafure may be tafted in gin, 
brandy, ale, and porter, as in Burgundy or Toc- 
kay ; in beef and pudding, as in ortolans and jel- 
lies. If we confider nations together, we (hall find 
that intemperance and accefs is more indulged in 
the loweft ranks than in the higheft. The luxury 
of drefs, beyond the defence from the weather, is 
a mere matter of politics and etiquette through- 
out all the ranks of life ; and, in the higher ranks, 
rifes only in proportion as it rifes in the middle 
and the loweft. The fame is true o/ furniture and 
equipage, after the ordinary conveniences and 
accommodations of life. Thofe who claim or 
afpire to the higheft ranks of life, will eternally 
go a certain degree above thofe below them in 
thefe particulars, if their incomes will allow it. 
Confideration is attainable by appearance, and ever 
will be ; and it may be depended on, that rich 
men in general will not fuffer others to be confi- 
dered more than themfelves, or as much, if they 
can prevent it by their riches. 'The poor and 
the middle ranks, then, have it in their power to 


The right conftltutlon of & 

diminifli luxury as much as the great and rich 
have. Let the middle and lower ranks leflbn their 
ftyle of living, and they may depend upon it the 
higher ranks will leflen theirs. It is commonly 
faid every thing is regis ad exemplum ; that the 
lower ranks imitate the higher ; and it is true : 
but it is equally true that the higher imitate the 
lower. The higher ranks will never exceed their 
inferiors but in a certain proportion ; but the dif- 
tinftion they are abfolutely obliged to keep up, or 
fall into contempt and ridicule. It may gratify 
vulgar malignity and popular envy, to declaim 
eternally againft the rich and the great, the noble 
and the high ; but, generally and philofophically 
fpeaking, the manners and characters in a nation 
are all alike : the lowed and the middling peo- 
ple, in general, grow vicious, vain, and luxuri- 
ous, exactly in proportion. As to appearance, 
the higher fort are obliged to raife theirs in pro- 
portion as the (lories below afcend. A free peo- 
ple are the moft addicted to luxury of any : that 
,equality which they enjoy, and in which they 
glory, infpires them with fentiments which hurry 
them into luxury. A citizen perceives his fel- 
low-citizen, whom he holds his equal, have a 
better coat or hat, a better houfe or horfe, than 
himfelf, and fees his neighbours are flruck with 
it, talk of it, and refpect him for it ; he cannot 
bear it ; he muft and will be upon" a level ,with 
him. Such an emulation as this takes place in 
every neighbourhood, in every family ; among 
artifans, hufbandrnen, labourers, as much as be- 
tween dukes and marquifles, and more thefe are 
all nearly equal in drefs, and are now diftin- 
guifhed by other marks. Declamations, oratory, 
poetry, fermons, againft luxury, riches, and com- 
merce, will never have much effect : the moft 


Commonwealth, examined. 337 

rigorous fumptuary laws will have little more. 
" Difcordia et avaritia, atque ambitio, et ceterst 
" fecundis rebus oriri fueta mala, pod Carthaginis 
" excidiurn maxume aucta funt. Ex quo tem- 
" pore majorum mores, non paulatim ut antea, 
" fed torrentis modo prascipitati." Sailuft. ia 
Frag. In the late war, the Americans found ari 
unufual quantity of money flow in upon therri, 
and, without the leaft degree of prudence, fore- 
fight, cbnfideration, or meafure, rufhed headlong 
into a greater degree of luxury than ought to 
have crept in, in an hundred years. The Romans 
charged the ruin of their commonwealth to luxu- 
ry : they might have charged it to the want of a 
balance in their conftitution. In a country like 
America, where the means and opportunities for 
luxury are fo eafy and fo plenty, it would be 
madnefs not to ex-pelt it, be prepared for it, and 
provide againft the dangers of it in the conftitu- 
tion. The balance, in a triple-headed legiilature, 
is the bed and the only remedy. If we will not 
adopt that, we muft fuffer the punifhment of our 
temerity. The fupereminence of a threefold ba- 
lance, above all the' imperfect balances that were 
attempted in the ancient republics of Greece and 
Italy, and the modern ones of Switzerland and 
Holland, whether ariftocratical or mixed, lies in 
this, that as it is capable of governing a great 
nation and large territory, whereas the others can 
only exift in fmall ones, fo it is capable of pre- 
ferving liberty among great degrees of wealth, 
luxury, diflipation, and even profligacy of manners j 
whereas the others require the utmoft frugality, 
fimplicity, and moderation, to make human life 
tolerable under them. 

" Where luxury takes place, there is a natural 
" tendency to tyranny." There is a natural ten- 

VOL. III. X x dency 

333 The Right C on/lit ution of a 

dency to tyranny every where, in the fimpleft 
manners as well as the moft luxurious, which no- 
thing but force can flop. And why mould this 
tendency be taken from human nature, where it 
grows as in its native foil, and attributed to 
luxury ? " the nature of luxury lies altogether 
<c in excefs. It is an univerfal depravation of man- 
" ners, without reafon, without moderation : it is 
" the canine appetite of a corrupt will and phan- 
" tafy, which nothing can fatisfy ; but in every 
" action, in every imagination, it flies beyond the 
" bounds of honefty, juft and good, into all ex- 
ec tremity." This is declamation and rant that 
it is not eafy to comprehend. There are all pof- 
fible degrees of luxury which appear in fociety, 
with every degree of virtue, from the firft dawn- 
ings of civilization to the laft ftage of improve- 
ment and refinement ; and civility, humanity, and 
benevolence, increafe commonly as faft as ambi- 
tion of conqueft, the pride of war, cruelty, and 
bloody rage, diminifhes. Luxury, to certain de- 
grees of excefs, is an evil ; but it is not at all 
times, and in all circumftances, an abfolute evil. 
It fhould be reflrained by morality and by law, 
by prohibitions and difcouragements. But the 
evil does not only ; it lies in human na- 
ture : and that muft be reflrained by a mixed form 
of government, which is the beft in the world to 
manage luxury. Our author's government would 
never make, or, if it made, it never would execute 
laws to reftrain luxury. 

" That form of government," fays our author, 
" muft needs be the moft excellent, and the peo- 
" pie's liberty moft fecured, where governors are 
" leaft expofed to the baits and fnares of luxury." 
That: is to fay, that form of government is the 
beft, and the people's liberty moft fecure where 


Commonwealth , examined. 339 

the people are pooreft : this will never recom- 
mend a government to mankind. But what has 
poverty or riches to do with the form of govern- 
ment ? If mankind muft be voluntarily poor in 
order to be free, it is too late in the age of the 
world to preach liberty. Whatever Nedham 
might think, mankind in general had rather be 
rich under a fimple monarchy, than poor under a 
democracy. But if that is the bed form of go- 
vernment, where governors are leaft expofed to 
the baits and fnares of luxury, the government 
our author contends for is the word of all poflible 
forms. There is, there can be no form in which 
the governors are fo much expofed to the baits 
and fnares of luxury as in a fimple democracy. 
In proportion as a government is democratical, in 
a degree beyond a proportional prevalence of mo- 
narchy and ariftocracy, the wealth, means, and 
opportunities being the fame, does luxury pre- 
vail. Its progrefs is inftantaneous. There can be 
no fubordination. One citizen cannot bear that 
another fhould live better than himfelf ; a univerfal 
emulation in luxury inftantly commences ; and the 
governors, that is, thofe who afpire at ele&ions, 
are obliged to take the lead in this filly conten- 
tion : they muft not be behind the foremoft in 
drefs, equipage, furniture, entertainments, games, 
races, fpe&acles ; they mufl feaft and gratify the 
luxury of electors to obtain their votes ; and the 
whole executive authority muft be proftituted, 
and the legiflative too, to encourage luxury. The 
Athenians made it death for any one to propofe 
the appropriation of money devoted to the fup- 
port of the theatre to any the moft necefiary pur- 
pofes of the ftate. In monarchies and ariitocra- 
cies much may be done, both by precept and ex- 
ample, by laws and manners to diminifh luxury 


343 The right Conftitution */ a 

and retrain its growth ; in a mixed government 
more ftiil may be done for this falutary end ; but 
in a fimple democracy, nothing : every man will 
do as he pleafes no fumptuary law will be obey- 
ed every prohibition or impoft will be eluded ; 
no man will dare to propofe a law by which the 
pleafures or the liberty of the citizen (hall be re- 
ftrained. A more unfortunate argument for a 
fimple democracy could not have been thought 
of: it i.% however, a very good one in favour of 
a mixed government. 

Our author is no where fo weak as in this rea- 
fon, or tinder this head. He attempts to prove 
his point by reafon and examples, but is equally 
unfortunate in both. Firft, by reafon. " The 
^ people/' fays he, cc mud be lefs luxurious than 
*' kings, or great ones, becaufe they are bounded 
* c within a more lowly pitch of defire and ima- 
" gination : give them but panem et tircenfes, 
" bread, fport, and eafe, and they are abundantly 
" fatisfied." It is to be feared that this is too 
good a character for any people living, or that 
have lived. The difpofition to luxury is the 
fame, though the habit is not, both in plebeians, 
patricians, and kings. When we fay their defi.res 
are bounded, we admit the defires to exift. Ima- 
gination is as quick in one as in the other. It is 
demanding a great deal, to demand " bread, and 
" fports, and eafe. 5 ' No one can tell how far 
thefe terms may extend. If by bread is meant a 
fubfiftence, a maintenance in food and clothing, 
it will mount up very high ; if by fports be meant 
cock-fighting, norfe-racing-, theatrical reprefenta- 
tions, and all the fpecies of cards, dice, and gam- 
bling, no mortal philofopher can fathom the 
depth of this article ; and if with " bread" and 
" fport" they are to have " eafe" too, and by eafe 


Commonwealth, examined. 341 

be meant idlenefs, an exemption from care and la- 
bour, all three together will amount to as much 
as ever was demanded for nobles or kings, and 
more than ought ever to be granted to either. 
But let us grant all this for a moment ; we mould 
be difappointed ; the promifed u abundant fa- 
*' tisfaction would not be found. The bread 
muft foon be of the fined wheat ; poultry and gib- 
bier muft be added to beef and mutton ; the en- 
tertainments would not be elegant enough after a 
time ; more expence muft be added : in mort t con- 
tentment is not in human nature ; there is no 
paflion, appetite, or affection for contentment. 
To amufe and flatter the people with compliments 
of qualities that never exifted in them, is not the 
duty nor the right of a philofopher or legiflator ; 
he muft form a true idea and judgment of man- 
kind, and adapt his inftitutions to fads, not com- 

" The people have lefs means and opportune 
** ties for luxury than thofe pompous {landing 
" powers, whether in the hands of one or many.*' 
But if the fovereignty were exercifed wholly by 
one popular aflembly, they would then have the 
means and opportunities in their hands as much 
as the king has in a monarchy, or the fenate in an 
ariftocracy or oligarchy ; and much more than 
either kings or nobles have in the triparite compo- 
fition we contend for ; becaufe in this the king 
and nobles have really no means or opportunities 
of luxury but what are freely given them by the 
people, whofe reprefentatives hold the purfe. Ac- 
cordingly, in the fimple democracy, or reprefen- 
tative democracy, which our author contends for, 
it would be found, that the great leaders in the 
affembly would foon be as luxurious as ever king 
* hereditary nobles were, aad they would make 


34 2 The right C on/lit ut ion of a 

partifans by admitting aflbciates in a luxury, 
which they would fupport at the expence of the 
minority : and every particle of the executive 
power would be proilituted, new lucrative offices 
daily created, and larger appointments annexed to 
fupport it : nay, the power of judging would 
be proflituted to determine caufes in favour of 
friends and againft enemies, and the plunder de- 
voted to the luxury. The people would be found 
as much inclined to vice and vanity as kings or 
grandees, and would run on to ftill greater excefs 
and riot : for kings and nobles are always re- 
ftrained in fome degree, by fear of the people, 
and their cenfures ; whereas the people themfelves, 
in the cafe we put, are not reflrained by fear or 
fhame, having all honour and applaufe at their 
difpofal, as well as force. It does not appear, then, 
that they are lefs luxurious ; on the contrary they 
are more luxurious, and neceflarily become fo, ia 
a fimple democracy. 

Our author triumphantly concludes, " it is 
cc clear the people, that is, their fucceflive repre- 
" fentatives" (all authority in one centre, and that 
centre the nation) " muft be the beft governors, 
" becaufe the current of fucceflion keeps them 
" the lefs corrupt and prefumptuous." He muft 
have forgot that thefe fucceflive reprefentatives 
have all the executive power, and will ufe it at 
once for the exprefs purpofe of corruption among 
their conflituents, to obtain votes at the next elec- 
tion. Every commiffion will be given, and new 
offices created, and frefli fees, falaries, perquifites, 
and emoluments added, on purpofe to corrupt 
more voters. He muft have forgot that the judi- 
cial power is in the hands of thefe reprefentatives, 
by his own fuppofitions, and that falfe accufations 
of crimes will be fuftained to ruin enemies, dif- 


Commonwealth, examined. 343 

putes in civil caufes will be decided in favour of 

friends ; in (hort, the whole criminal law, and the 

whole civil law concerning lands, houfes, goods* 

and money, will be made fubfervient to the covet- 

oufnefs, pride, ambition, and oftentation of the 

dominant party and their chiefs. " The current 

" of fucceflion," inflead of keeping them " lefs 

" corrupt and prefumptuous," is the very thing 

that annually makes them more corrupt and 

fhamelefs. Inftead of being more " free from 

" luxurious couries," they are more irrefiftibly 

drawn into them ; inflead of being" free from 

" oppreflive and injurious practices," their parties 

at elections will force them into them : and all 

thefe things they mud do to hold up the port 

and fplendor of their tyranny ; and if any of 

them hefitates at any imprudence that his party 

demands, he alone will be rejected, and another 

found whofe confcience and whofe fhame are fuf- 

ficiently fubdued. 

Unfortunate in his arguments from reafon, to 
(hew that the people, qualified with the fupremc 
authority, are lefs devoted to luxury than the 
grandee or kingly powers, our author is ftill more 
unhappy in thofe drawn for example. 

The firft example is Athens. " While Athens 
" remained free, in the people's hands, it was 
" adorned with fuch governors as gave themfelves 
" up to zferious, abftemious, and fevere courfe of 
" life." Sobriety, abft'mence, and feverity, were 
never remarkable chara&eriftics of democracy, or 
the democratical branch or mixture, in any confti- 
tution ; they have often been the attributes of 
ariftocracy and oligarchy. Athens, in particular, 
was never eonfpicious for thefe qualities ; but, on 
the contrary, from the firft to the laft moment of 
her democratical conflitution, levity, gaiety, incon- 

344 The right Conflituilon of* 

Jlancy, dijfipation, intemperance^ debauchery ', and a 
dijjolution of manners^ were the prevailing charac- 
ter of the whole nation. At what period will it 
be pretended that they were adorned with thefe 
ferious, abftemious, and fevere governors ? and 
what were their names ? Was Pififlratus fo feri- 
ous, when he drove his chariot into the Agora, 
wounded by himfelf, and duped the people to give 
him his guard ? or when he drefifed the girl like 
Minerva ? Was Hipparchus or Hippias, Cleif- 
thenes or Ifagoras, fo abftemious ? Was there fo 
much abftinence and feverity of public virtue in 
applying firft to Sparta, and then to Perfia, againft 
their country, as the leaders alternately did ? Mil- 
tiades indeed was ferious, abftemious, and fevere ; 
but Xanthippus, who was more popular, and, who 
conduced a capital accufation againft him, and 
got him fined fifty talents, was not. Themifto- 
cies ! was he the fevere character ? A great ftatef- 
man and foldier, to befure; but very ambitious, 
and not very honeft. Pericles facrificed all things 
to his ambition ; Cleon and Alcibiades were the 
very reverfe of fobriety, moderation, and mo- 
dfefty. Miltiades, Ariftides, Socrates, and Pho- 
cion, are all the characters in the Athenian ftory 
who had this kind of merit ; and to fhew how lit- 
tle the Athenians themfelves deferved this praife, 
or efteemed it in others, the firft was condemned 
by the people in an immenfe fine, the fecond to 
banifhment, and the third and fourth to death. 
Ariftides had Themiftocles, a more popular man, 
conftamly to oppofe him. He was, indeed, made 
financier of all Greece ; but what other arbitra- 
tion had Athens ? And Ariftides himfelf, though 
a profeffed imitator of Lycurgus, and a favourer 
of ariftocracy, was obliged to overturn the con- 
ftitution, by giving way to the furious ambition 


Commonwealth, examined. 345 

of the people, and by letting every citizen into the 
competition for the archbifhop*. " Being at the 
"' height, they began to decline ;" that is, almoft 
in the inftant when they had expelled the Pififtra- 
tidas, and acquired a democratical afcendency, 
though checked by the areopagus and many other 
inflitutions of Solon, they declined. The good 
conduct of the democracy began and ended with 
Ariftides. " Permitting fome men to greaten. 
" themfelves by continuing long in power and 
" authority, they foon loft their pure principles 
cc of feverity and liberty." In truth, nobody yet 
had fuch principles but Miltiades and Ariftides, 
At foon as the people got unlimited power, they 
did as the people always do, give it to their flat- 
terers, like Themiftocles, and continued it in 
him. To what purpofe is it to talk of the rules 
of a free ftate, when you are fure thofe rules will 
be violated ? The people unbalanced never will 
obferve them. 

" The thirty" were appointed by Lyfander, 
after the conqueft of Athens by Sparta : vyet it 
was not the continuance, but the illimitation, of 
their power that corrupted them. Thefe, indeed, 
behaved like all other unchecked affemblies : the 
majority deftroyed Theramenes, and the few vir- 

* When the city of Athens was rebuilt, the people finding 
themfelves in a ftate of tranquillity, endeavoured by every 
means to get the whole government into their own hands. 
Ariftides perceiving 'that it would be no eafy matter to re- 
ftrain a people with arms in their hands, and grown infoleat 
with victory, ftudied methods to appeafe them He parted a 
decree, that the government mould be common to all the 
citizens ; and that the archons, who were the chief magiftrates, 
and uled to be chofen only out of thofe who received at lead 
five hundred medimnis of grain from the product of their 
lands, mould for the future be ele&ed from among all the 
Athenians without diftinftion. Plut. Arift. 

Y y tUOUS 

346 The right Conftitution of a 

tuous members who happened to be among them 
and were a reproach to them, and then ruled with 
a rod of iron. Nothing was heared of but murders 
and imprisonments. Riches were a crime that never 
failed to be punifhed with confifcation and death. 
More people were put death in eight months of 
peace than had been flam by the enemy in a war 
of thirty years. In fhort every body of men, 
every unchecked aifembly in Athens, had invari- 
ably behaved in this manner : the four hundred 
formerly chofen ; now the thirty ; and afterwards 
the ten. Such univerfal, tenacious, and uniform 
confpiracies againit liberty, juftice, and the pub- 
lic good ; fuch a never failing paffion for tyranny 
poffefling republicans born in the air of liberty, 
nurtured in her bolom, accuftomed to that equa- 
lity on which it is founded, and principled by their 
education from their earlieft infancy in an abhor- 
rence of all fervitude, have aflonifhed the genera- 
lity of hiftorians. There muft be in power, fay 
they, fome violent impulfe to actuate fo many 
perfons in this manner, who had no doubt fenti- 
ments of virtue and honour, and make them for- 
get all laws of nature and religion. But there is 
really no room for all this furprife : it is the form 
of government that naturally and neceffarily pro- 
duces the effecl. The aftonifhment really is, and 
ought to be only, that there is one fenfible man 
left in the world who can Itill entertain an eileem, 
or any other fentiment than abhorrence, for a go- 
vernment in a fmgle affembly. 

" Such aifo was the condition of Athens when 
" Pifiitratus ufurped the tyranny." But who was 
it that continued the power of Pififtratus and his 
fons ? The people. And if this example mows, 
like all others, that the people are always difpofed 
to continue and increafe the power of their fa- 

Commonwealth, examined. 347 

Younies againft' all maxims and rules of freedom, 
this alfo is an argument for placing balances in. 
the confHtution, even againft the power o'f the 

From Athens our author comes to Rome. 
" Under Tarquin it was dilfolved in debauchery." 
" Upon the change of government their manners 
ec were fo'mewhat mended." This difference does 
not appear : on the contrary, the Roman manners 
were under the kings as pure, as under the arifto- 
cracy that followed. " The fenate being a ftand- 
cc ing power, foon grew corrupt, and firft let 
u in luxury, then tyranny ; till the people being 
<c interefted in the government, eftablifhed a good 
" difcipline and freedom both together, which 
tc was upheld with all feverity till the grandees 
<c came in play." When an author writes from 
imagination only, he may fay what he pleafes ; but 
it would be trifling to adduce proofs in detail of 
what every one knows. The whole hiftory of 
Rome fhows that corruption began with the peo- 
ple fooner than in the fenate 3 that it increafed 
fafter ; that it produced the chara&ers he calls 
grandees, as the Gracchi, Marius/ Sylla, and 
Csefar ; and that the fenate was for centuries/ the 
check that preferred any degree of virtue, modera- 
tion, or modefty. 

Our author's conclufion is, that . cc grandee 
" and kingly powers are ever more luxurious 
<c than the popular are or can be ; that luxury 
<c ever brings on tyranny as the bane of liber- 
^ ty ; and therefore that the rights of the peo- 
* c pie, in a due and orderly fucceflion of their 
" fupreme alfemblies, are more fecure in their 
" own hands than any others. 

But if the fat is otherwife, and the people 
are equally luxurious in a fimple democracy as 


348 The right Conftiiution of a 

in a fimple ariftocracy or monarchy ; but more 
efpecially if it be true, as it undoubtedly is, that 
they are more fo ; then the contrary conclufion 
will follow, that their rights are more fecure when 
their own power is tempered by a feparate execu- 
tive and an ariftocratical fenate. 

The truth relating to this fubjecl: is very ob- 
vious, and lies in a narrow compafs. The dif- 
pofition to luxury is fo ftrong in all men, and in 
all nations, that it can be refrained, where it has 
the means of gratification, only by education, 
difcipline or law. Education and difcipline foon 
lofe their force when unfupported by law : fim- 
pie democracies, therefore, have occafion for the 
jftri&eft laws to preferve the force of education, 
, difcipline and feverity of manners. This is the 
reaibn why examples of the mod rigorous, the 
mod tyrannical, fumptuary laws are found in go- 
vernments the mod popular : but fuch fumptuary 
laws are found always ineffectual ; they are always 
hated by the people, and violated continually ; and 
thofe who approve them neither dare repeal them, 
nor attempt to carry them into execution. In a 
fimple ariitocracy the difpofition to luxury mews 
itfelf in the utmoil extravagance, as in Poland: but 
it is confined to the gentlemen ; the common peo- 
ple are forbidden it ; and fuch fumptuary laws are 
executed feverely enough. In fimple monarchies 
fumptuary laws are made under the guife of pro- 
hibitions or impofts ; and luxury is generally no 
otherwife retrained than by the ability to gratify 
it: but as the difference of ranks is eftablifhed 
by laws and cufloms univerfally known, there is 
no temptation for people in the lower ranks to 
imitate the fplendor of thofe in the higher. But 
in the mixed government we contend for, the 
diftinftion of ranks is.alfo generally known,, or 


Commonwealth, examined. 349 

ought to be : it has therefore all the advantage 
againft general luxury which arifes from fubordi- 
nation ; and it has the further advantage of being 
able to execute prudent and reafonable fumptuary 
laws, whenever the circumftances of affairs require 
them. It is, therefore, fafe to affirm, that luxury 
is lefs dangerous in fuch a mixed government 
than any other ; has lefs tendency to prevail ; and 
is much more eafily reftrained to fuch perfons and 
objects as will be lead detrimental to the public 

The tenth reafon is, " becaufe the people under 
" this government are ever endued with a more 
" magnanimous, active, and noble temper of fpi- 
" rit, than under the grandeur of any (landing 
" power ; and this arifes from an apprehenfion 
4C which every man has of his own (hare in the 
" public intereft:, as well as of that fecurity which 
" he poffefles in the enjoyment of his private 
" fortune, free from the reach of any arbitrary 
" power. " 

This is a good argument in favour of a go- 
vernment in which the people have an effential 
part of the fovereign power ; but none at all for 
one in which they exercife the whole. When 
they have a part, balanced by a fenate and a 
diftindi: executive power, it is true they have more 
magnanimity, activity, and fpirit ; they have a 
regard to their own immediate (hare in the public 
intereft ; they have an apprehenfion of that fecu- 
rity they poffefs in the enjoyment of their private 
fortunes, free from the reach of any arbitrary 
power. Whenever fuccefs betides the public, and 
the commonwealth conquers, thrives in dominion, 
wealth, or honour, the citizen reckons all his 
own : if he fees honours, offices, rewards, diftri- 


The right C on/lit ut ion of a 

buted to valiant, virtuous, or learned men, he 
efteems them his own, as long as the door is left 
open to fucceed in the fame dignities and enjoy- 
ments, if he can attain to the fame meafure of 
defert. Men afpire to great a&ions when rewards 
depend on merit ; and merit is more certain of 
reward in a mixed government than in any fim- 
ple one. Rewards depend on the will and plea- 
fure of particular perfons, in (landing powers of 
monarchy or ariftoeracy : but they depend equally 
on the will and pleafure of the principes populi, 
the reigning demagogues, in fimple democracies, 
and for obvious reafons are oftener diftributed in 
an arbitrary manner. In a mixed government the 
minifters of the executive power are always re- 
fponfible, and grofs corruption in the diftribution 
of offices is always fubject to inquiry and to pu- 
nifhment : but in fimple governments the reign- 
ing characters are accountable to nobody. In a 
fimple democracy each leader thinks himfelf ac- 
countable only to his party, and obliged to bellow 
honours, rewards, and offices, not upon merit and 
for the good of the whole flate, but merely to in- 
creafe his votes and partifans in future elections* 
But it is by no means juft, politic or true, to fay, 
that qffices &c. are always conferred in free dates, 
meaning fmgle aflemblies, according to merit, 
without any confideration of birth or fortune. 
Birth and fortune are as much confidered in fimple 
Democracies as in monarchies, and ought to be 
confidered, in fome degree, in all flates. Merit, 
it is true, ought to be preferred to both ; but 
merit being equal, birth will generally determine 
the queftion in all popular governments ; and 
fortune, which is a worfe criterion, oftener ftill. 

But what apprehenfion of their (hare in the pub- 
lic intereft, or of their fecurity in the enjoyment 


Commonwealth^ axamined. 351 

of their private fortune, can the minor party 
have in a fimple democracy, when they fee that 
fucceffeS', conquefts, wealth, and honour, only tend 
to increafe the power of their antagonifts, and to 
leflen their own ; when all honours, offices, and 
rewards, are beftowed to leflen their importance, 
and increafe that of their opponents ; when every 
door is (hut againft them to fucceed to dignities 
and enjoyments, be their merit what it will ; when 
they fee that neither birth, fortune, nor merit, can 
avail them, and that their adverfaries, whom they 
will call their enemies, fucceed continually, with- 
out either birth, fortune, or merit ? This is furely 
the courfe in a fimple democracy, even more than 
in a fimple ariflocracy or monarchy. Abilities, 
no doubt, will be fought and purchafed into the 
fervice of fortune and family in the predominant 
party, but left to perifh in oppofition. 

A mixed government is the only one where 
merit can be expeded to have fair^lay ; there it 
has three refources, one in each branch of the 
legiflature, and a fourth in the courts of juftice ; 
whereas in all fimple governments it has but one. 

Our author proceeds again to Roman hiftory, 
and repeats examples he had ufed before, with 
equal ill fuccefs. The examples prove the con- 
trary of what he cites them to prove. u The 
** Romans, under their kings, remained inconli- 
<c derable in reputation, and could never enlarge 
<c the dominion very far beyond the wails of 
" their city. Afterwards, under the {landing 
" power of the fenate, they began to thrive a 
" little, and for a little time. But when the 
" people began to know, claim, and pofiefs their 
u liberties, in bejng governed by a fucceflion of 
" their fupreme officers and aifemblies, then it 
" was, and never till then, that they laid the 

" foundation^ 

352 The right Conftltuilon of a 

" foundation, and built the ftruclure, of that 
4e wondrous empire that overihadowed the whole 
" world.'' 

In fupport of all this, no doubt, will be cited 
the fpiendid authority of Salluft. " Nam regibus, 
" boni quam mali, fufpectiores funt, femperque 
" his aliena virtus formidolofa eft. Sed civitas, 
" incredibile memoratu eft, adepta libertate, quam 
" brevi creverit ; tanta cupido glorias incefferat. 
" Jam primum juventus fimul laboris ac belli 
" patrius orat, in caftris per ufum militiam difce- 
< c bat ; magifque in decoris armis et militaribus 
" equis, quam in fcortis atque conviviis lubidi- 
" nem habebat." The condition and happinefs 
of Rome under their kings, till the time of Tar- 
quin, have been before related. It has been 
Ihewn, that the introduction of laws and forma- 
tion of the manners of a barbarous rabble, afiem- 
bied from ail nations, engaged the attention both 
of the kings ^ind the fenate during this period. 
Their wars have been enumerated, and it has been 
fhewn that the nation was not in a condition to 
ftruggle with its hoftile neighbours, nor to con- 
tend among themfelves. It has been fhewn that, 
in proportion as they became eafy and fafe, the 
nobles began to envy the kings, and to form con- 
tinual confpiracies againft their authority, thrones, 
and lives, until it became a queftion only whe- 
ther monarchy or ariftocracy mould be abolifhed. 
In this manner kings were neceffitated either to 
give up all their authority into the hands of an 
haughty and afpiring fenate, or affert a more de- 
cifiVe and arbitrary power than the conftitution 
allowed them. In the conteft the nobles pre- 
vailed, and in the wars with Tarquin and his fuc- 
ceflbrs, and their allies, foldiers and officers were 
formed, who became capable and defirous of con- 


Commonwealth , examined. 353 

queft and glory. Salluft himfelf confefies this 
in the former chapter : " Poft, ubi regium impe- 
" rium, quod initio c&nfervandte liber tat is, atque 
" augenda reipublica fuerat, in fuperbiam, domi- 
" nationem que convertit ; immutato more, an- 
" nua imperia, binofque imperatores, fibi fecere." 
In addition to this it mould be remembered, that 
Salluft was an ariftocratical hiftorian, and attached 
to the fovereignty in the fenate, or at lead defirous 
of appearing fo in his hiftory, and an enemy to 
the government of a fingle perfon, of which the 
republic was at that time in the near profped: and 
the utmoft danger. The queftion, in the mind of 
this writer, was not between an ariftocracy and a 
mixed fovereignty, but between ariftocracy and 
fimple monarchy, or the empire of one : yet all 
that can be inferred from the faft, as dated by 
our author and by Salluft, is, that ariftocracy at firft 
is better calculated for conqueft than fimple mo- 
narchy. It by no means follows, that ariftocracy is 
more friendly to liberty or commerce, the two 
bleflings now moft efteemed by mankind, than 
even fimple monarchy. But the moft exception- 
able fentiment of all is this, " When the people 
" began to pofiefs their liberties, in being govern- 
" ed by a fucceffion of their fupreme officers and 
" aflemblies, then they laid the foundation of em- 
" pire, and built the ftru&ure." By this one 
would think that the Romans were governed by a 
fingle reprefentative affembly, periodically chofen, 
which is our author's idea of a perfect common- 
wealth : whereas nothing can be further from the 
truth. There is fcarcely any conftitution farther 
removed from a fimple democracy, or a reprefen- 
tative democracy, than the Roman. As has been 
before obferved, from Romulus to Caefar, arifto- 
VOL. III. Z z cracy 

354 The right C on/lit ution of a 

cracy was the predominant feature of the fov<r- 
reignty. The maxim of monarchical power in 
the kings and confuls, and the mixture of demo- 
cratical power in the tribunes aud popular aflem- 
blies, though unequal to the ariftocratical ingre- 
dient, were checks to it, and ilrong ftimulants to 
exertions, though not complete balances : but 
the periods of greateft liberty, virtue, glory, and 
profperity, were thofe in which the mixture of 
all three was neareft equality. Our author's argu- 
ment and example are clear and flrong in favour 
of the triple combination, and decifive againft 
the democracy he contends for. " In thofe days 
" the world abounded with, free flates more 
" than any other form, as well over Italy, Gal- 
" lia, Spain, and Africa." It may be quef- 
tioned whether there was then in the world one 
free ft^te, according to our author's definition of 
it : all that were called free ftates in thofe days, 
were either ariftocracies, oligarchies, or mixtures 
of monarchy and ariftocracy, of ariftocracy and 
democracy, or of monarchy, ariftocracy, and demo- 
cracy ; but not one do we read of which was 
governed by a democracy fimple, or by reprefenta- 
tion. The Achaian league, and others like it, 
were confederated cities, each city being indepen- 
dent, and itfelf a mixed^ government. 

Carthage is the next example : and an excel- 
lent one it is to prove that a mixed government, 
in which the people have a mare, gives them 
magnanimity, courage, and activity ; but proves 
nothing to our author's purpofe. The fuffetes, the 
fenate, and the people, the monarchical, ariftocrati- 
cal, and democratical powers, nicely balanced, as 
Ariftotle fays, were the conftitution of Carthage, 
and fecured its liberty and profperity : but when 
the balance was weakened, and began to incline to 

a dominatio 

Commonwealth, examined. 355 

a dominatio plebis, the precife form of govern^- 
ment our author contends for, they haftened to 
ruin. The next examples quoted by our author 
are the Swifs ; another example which proves 
nothing for him, and much againft him. All the 
cantons of any extent, numbers, or wealth, are 
ariftocratical ; or mixed : the little fpots, that are 
called democratical, are more or lefs mixtures. 
The Hollanders, his lad example, had no de- 
mocratical mixture in their conftitution ; entirely 
ariftocratical ; and preferved from tyranny and 
deftrudion, partly by a ftadtholder, partly by the 
people in mobs, but more efpecially by the num- 
ber of independent cities and fovereignties aflb- 
ciated together, and the great multitude of per- 
fons concerned in the government and compofing 
the fovereignty, four or five thoufand ; and, 
finally, by the unanimity that is required in all 
tranfations. Thus every one of thefe examples, 
ancient and modern, are a clear demonftration 
againft our author's fyftem, inftead of being an 
argument for it. There is not even a colour in 
his favour in the democratical cantons of Swit- 
zerland, narrow fpots or barren mountains, where 
the people live on milk ; nor in St. Marino or 
Ragufa : no precedents, furely, for England or 
American ftates, where the people are numerous 
and rich, the territory capacious, and commerce 

Freedom produces magnanimity and courage ; 
but there is no freedom nor juflice in a fimple 
democracy for any but the majority : the ruling 
party, no doubt, wHl be a&ive and bold ; but the 
ruled will be difcouraged, brow-beaten, and infult- 
ed, without a poffibility of redrefs but by civil war. 
It is a mixed government then, well balanced, that 
makes all the nation of a noble temper. Our 


The right Conftitutlon of a 

author confefles, " We feel a lofs of courage and 
" magnanimty follow the lofs of freedom ;" and it 
is very true. This lofs is no where fo keenly felt, 
as when we are enflaved by thofe whom the con- 
ftitution makes our equals : this is the cafe of the 
minority always in a fimple democracy. 

The eleventh reafon is, " becaufe no deter- 
u minations being carried but by confent of the 
" people, therefore they muft needs remain fecure 
" out of the reach of tyranny, and free from the 
" arbitrary difpofition of any commanding pow- 
" er." No determinations are carried, it is true,in 
a fimple or reprefentative democracy, but by con- 
fent of the majority of the people, or their repre- 
fentatives. If our author had required unanimity 
in every vote, refolve., and law, in that cafe no 
determination could be carried but by confent of 
the people ; but no good government was ever 
yet founded upon the principal of unanimity ; and 
it need not be attempted to be proved that none 
fuch ever can exift. If the majority, then, mud 
govern, and confequently often near half, and al- 
nioft always a party, mud be governed againfl 
their confent, it is the majority only who will re- 
main fecure out of the reach of tyranny, and free 
from the arbitrary difpofition of one commanding 
power : the minority, on the contrary, will be 
conftantly within the reach of tyranny, and under 
the arbitrary difpofition of the commanding power 
of the majority. Nor do the minority, under 
fuch a government, " know what laws they are 
' to obey, or what penalties they are to undergo, 
" in cafe of tranfgreflion ; nor have they any mare 
<e or intereft in making of laws, with the penalties 
" annexed ; nor do they become the more inex- 
"cufableif they offend :" nor ought they " the 

" more 

Commonwealth , examined. 

willingly to fubmit to punifhment, when 
u they fuffer for any offence," for the minority have 
no laws but what the majority pleafe to give, 
any more than " when the government is managed 
" in the hands of a particular perfon," or " con- 
" tinued in the hands of a certain number of great 
" men :" nor do the minority " know how to 
" walk by thofe laws" of the majority, or how to 
underftand them, " becaufe the fenfe is oftentimes 
" left at uncertainty ; and it will be reckoned a 
" great myftery of (late, in fuch a form of govern- 
" ment, that no laws (hall be of any fenfe or force, 
" but as the great ones" among the majority 
" pleafe to expound them ;" fo as " the people 
'* of the minority" will be " left, as it were, 
u without law, becaufe they bear no other con- 
" ftrudion and meaning but what fuits with the 
" interefts and fancies of particular men" in the 
majority ; " not with right reafon, or the public 
" liberty." To be convinced of this, we mould 
recollect that the majority have the appointment 
of the judges, who will be generally the great 
leaders in the houfe, or their friends and parti- 
fans, and even great exertions will be made to 
pack juries ; but without packing, the probability 
is, that a majority at leaft of the juries will be of 
the ruling party in the nation, and its fovereign 
afiembly. We may go farther, and fay, that as 
the paflions and interefts of the majority have no 
check, they will frequently make ex pod fa&o 
laws ; laws with a retrofpecl, to take in cafes 
which, at the time, were not forefeen, for the 
mortification of the minority, and the fupport and 
encouragement of their adverfaries. The judges 
will not be lefs u reputed the oracles of the law'* 
under fuch a government, than under kings or 
Handing fenates 5 and the " power of creating 

" judges" 

358 The right Conftitution of a 

"judges" will not indeed be " ufurped," but will 
be legally and conftitutionally in the hands of the 
majority, or rather of their leader or leaders, 
"who will never have a care to create fuch as will 
" make the law fpeak in favour of them upon any 
" occafion." Thefe principes populi may fay, with 
as much arrogance and as much truth as it was 
ever faid by Charles or James, " As long as we 
" have the power of making what judges and 
" bifhops we pleafe, we are fure to have no law 
nor gofpel but what fhall pleafe us." 

The example of Henry the Seventh and Hen- 
ry the Eighth, thofe of James and Charles, are 
no doubt pertinent to prove, that " the ufurpa- 
" tion of a prerogative of expounding the laws 
" after their own pleafure, made them rather fnares 
" than inftruments of relief, like a grand catch- 
" pole, to pill, poll, and geld the purfes of the 
" people ; to deprive many gallant men of their 
u lives and fortunes." But if we had the hiftory 
of any fimple democracy, or democracy by fimple 
reprefentation, fuch as our author contends for, we 
mould find that fuch a prerogative was ufurped by 
the majority and their chiefs, and applied to as 
bad purpofes. But the truth is, no fuch govern- 
ment, that we know of, ever exiited. The uni- 
verfal fenfe of mankind has deemed it fo deftruc- 
tive or impracticable, that no nation has ventured 
on it. The Italian republics of the middle age 
approach the neareft to it : their hiftory is an an- 
fwer. But if we confider thofe pamons in human 
nature which caufe defpots, oligarchies, and 
(landing fenates, to make fuch an abufe of power, 
we muft fee that the fame paffions will ever exift 
in the majority and their leaders in a democracy, 
and produce the fame fatal effe&s. It is really 
aftoniming, that the inftitution of Lycurgus fhould 


Commonwealth^ examined. 359 

be adduced as a precedent in favour of our au- 
thor's project of the right conftitution of a com* 
monwealth there is fcarcely a form of govern- 
ment in the world more eflentially different from, 
it, in all its parts. It is very true that the pro- 
vifion made by that Jegiflator for an equality of 
laws, rights, duties, and burthens, among all the 
citizens, however imperfect it was, however infe- 
rior to the provifion in the Englifh and American 
conflitutions, was^the principal commendation of 
his plan ; but inflead of giving all power to the 
people or their reprefentatives, he gave the real 
fovereignty to his ftanding fenate. Our author 
himfelf is fo fenfible of this, that he allows the 
<c Lacedemonian commonwealth to be cut out 
" after the grandee fafhion," " confirming the 
" fupremacy within the walls of the fenate." . 
" The fenate was in fome meafure reftrained by 
** laws, walking in the fame even pace of fub- 
** jection with the people ; having few offices of 
*' dignity ot profit which might make them fwell 
" with ftate and ambition ; but were prefcribed 
**- alfo the fame rules of frugality, plainnefs, and 
** moderation, as were the common people ; by 
" which means immoderate lufts and defires be- 
<l ing prevented in the great ones, they were the 
" lefs inclined to pride and oppreflion ; and no 
" great profit or pleafure being to be gotten by 
" authority, very few defired it ; and fuch as were 
" in it fat free from envy, by which means they 
" avoided that odium and emulation which ufed 
* 6 to rage betwixt the great ones and the people 
*' in that form of government." But how was 
this done ? by collecting all authority into one cen- 
tre ? No ; but by prohibiting travel and commu- 
nication with ftrangers, which no people on earth 
are ncrw barbarous and ftupid enough to bear ; by 


3#o The right Conftitution of a 

prohibiting commerce, which no people who have 
fenfe and feeling will now renounce \ and by pro- 
hibiting money, which all people now defire, and 
which makes the effential inftrument for guiding 
the world. But all this would not have fucceeded, 
if his conftitution had been only one popular af- 
fembly. This was effected by reciprocal checks, 
and a real balance, approaching nearly to an ab- 
folute controul of the fenate, by a marriage be- 
tween the king and people. * The king, fo far 
from being a cypher, had great authority ; he was 
the (landing and hereditary head of the common- 
wealth, and this alone muft give him a dominion 
over the hearts and understandings, both of fenate 
and people, that muft have amounted to a great 
authority. Our author is generally fo fenfible of 
the influence gained over high and low by (land- 
ing authority, that it is wonderful he mould for- 
get it in this cafe. He was, befides, always com- 
mander in chief of the armies, and generally led 
in perfon ; and this, in all governments, gives a 
general, an influence bordering on royal fuprema- 
ey. But befides, there were two aflemblies of the 
people, one for the city, and one for the country, 
and thofe popular reprefentatives, the Ephori. 
But the indiffoluble bond that united the king 
and people for ever, was the oath taken by the 
kings and Ephori every month ; the former never 
to violate the privileges of the people, and the 
latter for ever to be loyal to the kings, the de- 
fcendants of Hercules. This was not equivalent 
to an abfolute negative in the king and the people 
both, upon the laws of the fenate, but it amount- 
ed to one complete negative upon the fenate ; Be- 
caufe the kings and people were both fworn to 
oppofe all encroachments of the fenate ; and if 
thefe had made unequal laws, and fcrambled for 


* - < 

Commonwealth, examined. 361 

more power, the people would have inftantly taken 
arms, under the command of their Ephori and 
their kings, againil thefenate. This balance, thvS* 
mixture, was the real caufe of that equality which 
was preferved in Sparta. But if all authority had 
been in the popular aflemblies, without kings or 
fenate, the right conftitution of a commonwealth 
which our author is an advocate for, that equality 
could not have exifted twenty years ; a majority 
would neceflarily have rifen up to carry all before 
them, and to deprefs the minority more and more, 
until the firft man among the majority would 
have been king, his principal fupporters nobles, 
and the reft not only plebeians, but ilaves. 

The queftion between us and our author, is not 
whether the people mail be excluded from all in- 
tereft in government or not. In this point we 
are perfectly agreed, viz. that there can be no con- 
ftitutional liberty, no free ftate, no right confti- 
tution of a commonwealth, where the people are 
excluded from the government ; where, indeed, 
the people have not an independent equal mare 
with the two other orders of the ftate, and an ab- 
folute controul over all laws and grants of money. 
We agree therefore in his next example, the com- 
monwealth of Venice, " where the people are ex- 
" eluded from all intereft in government ; where 
." the power of making and executing of laws, 
" and bearing offices, with all other immunities, 
" lies only in the hands of a (landing fenate, and 
" their kindred, which they call the patrician or 
" noble order." Their duke is indeed reftrained ; 
but far from being " made juft fuch another of- 
'" ficer as the Lacedemonian kings," he is re- 
duced in dignity and authority much below them, 
" differing from the reft of the fenate only in a 
>*<< corner of his cap, befides a Httk outward cere- 
III. 7 A " mony 

362 The right Conftitut'um of <f 

" mony and fplendor." " The fenators them- 
" felves have, indeed, liberty at random arbitra- 
^ rily to ramble, and do what they pleafe with 
" the people, who, excepting the city itfelf, are fo 
" extremely opprelfed in ail their territories, liv- 
" ing by no law but the arbitrary dictates of the 
" fenate, that it feems rather a junto than a com- 
" monwealth ;" " and the fubjech take fo little 
" content in it, that feeing more to be enjoyed 
<c under the Turk, they that are his borderers take 
" all opportunities to revolt, and fubmit rather to 
" the mercy of a Pagan tyranny ; which difpo- 
" fition if you confider, together with the little 
"courage of their fubje&s, by reafon they prefa 
" them fo hard, and how that they are forced for 
* 6 this caufe to rely upon foreign mercenaries ia 
" all warlike expeditions, you might wonder how 
" this ftate hath held up fo long, but that we 
** know the intereft of Chriflendom being con- 
<l( cerned in her fecurity, (he hath been chiefly 
<c fupported by the fupplies and arms of others." 
All this is readily allowed. We concur alfo mod 
fmcerely in our author's conclufion, in part, viz, 
" That'fmce kings, and all (landing powers, are 
" fo inclined to aft according to their own wills 
" and interefts in making, expounding, and exe- 
" cuting of laws, to the prejudice of the people's 
" liberty and fecurity, that no laws whatfoever 
" fhould be made but by the people's confent, 
" as the only tneans to prevent arbitrarinefs." 
But we mud carry the conclufion farther, viz. 
that fmce all men are fo inclined to aft accord- 
ing to their own wills and interefts, in making, 
expounding, and executing laws, to the prejudice 
of the people's liberty and fecurity, the fovereign 
authority, the legiHative, executive, and judicial 
power, can never be fafely lodged in one affembly, 


Commonwealth, examined, 363 

though chofen annually by the people ; becaufe 
the majority and their leaders, the principes po- 
puli, will as certainly opprefs the minority, and 
make, expound, and execute laws for their own 
wealth, power, grandeur and glory, to the pre- 
judice of the liberty and fecurity of the minority, 
as hereditary kings or (landing fenates. The con- 
clufion, therefore, that the peopte, in a fucceffion of 
their fupreme fmgle afiemblies, are the bed keep- 
ers of their liberties, mud be wholly reprobated. 

The twelfth reafon is, " becaufe this form is 
a mod fuitable to the nature and reafon of 
" kind." If Socrates and Plato, Cicero and Sene- 
ca, Hutchinfon and Butler, are to be credited, rea- 
fon is rightfully fupreme in man, and therefore it 
would be mod fuitable to the reafon of mankind to 
have no civil or political government at all. The 
moral government of God,and his vicegerent Con- 
fcience, ought to be fufficient to redrain men to 
obedience, tojudice and benevolence, at all times 
and in all places ; we mud therefore defcend from 
the dignity of our nature, when we think of civil 
government at all. But the nature of mankind is 
one thing, and the reafon of mankind another ; 
and the firft has the fame relation to the lad as 
the whole to a part : the paflions and appetites are 
parts of human nature,as well as, reafon and the mo- 
ral fenfe. In the inditution of government, it mud 
be remembered, that although reafon ought al- 
ways to govern individuals, it certainly never did 
fince the Fall, and never will till the Millennium ; 
and human nature muft be taken as it is, as it has 
been, and will be. If, as Cicero fays, cc man 
<c is a noble creature, born with affections to rule 
" rather than obey, there being in every man a na^ 
* l tural defire of principality," it is yet certain 


364 The right Cenftituttin of a 

that every man ought to obey as well as to rule, 
f%E / v x*< a ? xtM, an d that every man cannot 
rule alone. Each man mud be content with his 
fhare of empire ; and if the nature and reafon of 
mankind, the nobleneis of his qualities and af- 
fections, and his natural defires, prove his right to 
a fnare in the government, they cannot furely 
prove more than the conftitutions of the United 
States have allowed, an annual election of the 
whole legillative and executive, the governor, fe- 
nate, and houfe. If we admit them to prove 
more, they would prov? that every man has every 
year a right to be governor, fenator, and repre- 
fentative ; which being impoflible, is abfurd. Even 
in our author's " Right conftitution," every man 
would have an equal right to be reprefentative, 
chofen or not. The reafon why one man is con- 
tent to fubmit to the government of another, as 
afligned by our author, viz. " not becaufe he con- 
" ceives himfelf to have lefs right than another, 
ic to govern, but either becaufe he finds himfelf 
u lefs able, or elfe becaufe he judgeth it will be 
<c more convenient for himfelf and the commu- 
" nity if he fubmits to another's government/' is 
a proof of this; becaufe the moment it is al- 
lowed that fome are more able than others, and 
that the community are judges who the moft able 
are, you take away the right to rule, derived 
from the noblenefs of each man's individual na- 
ture, from his affections to rule rather than obey, 
or from his natural 'appetite or defire of princi- 
pality, and give the right of conferring the power 
to rule to the community. As a fhare in the ap- 
pointment of deputies is all that our author can 
with any colour infer from this noble nature of 
man, his nature will be gratified and his dignity 
fupported as well, if you divide his deputies into 


Commonwealth, examined. 365 

three orders, of governor for the executive, and 
an integral fhare in the legiflative, of fenators for 
another independent part of the legiilative, and 
of reprefentatives for. a third, and if you intro- 
duce a judicious balance between them, as if 
you huddle them into one affembly, where they 
will foon difgrace their own nature, and that of 
their confticuents, by ambition, avarice, jealoufy, 
envy, faction, divifion, fedition, and rebellion. 
Nay, if it mould be found that annual elections 
of governors and fenators cannot be fupported 
without introducing venality and convulfions, as 
is very poffible, the people will confult the dig- 
nity of their nature better by appointing a (land- 
ing executive and fenate, than by infifting on 
elections, or at leaft by prolonging the duration 
of thofe high trufts, and making elections lefs 

It is indeed a c . c moft excellent maxim, that the 
" original and fountain of all juft power and go- 
" vernment is in the people ;" and if ever this 
maxim was fully demonftrated and exemplified 
among men, it was in the late American revolu- 
tion, where thirteen governments were taken down 
from the foundation, and new ones elected wholly 
by the people, as an architect would pull down 
an old building and erect a new one. There will 
be no difpute then with Cicero, when he fays, " A 
" mind well inftructed by the light of nature, will 
" pay obedience," willingly, " to none but fuch as 
" command, direct, or govern, for its good or 
" benefit ; nor will our author's inferences from 
thefe paffages of that oracle of human wifdombe 
denied: i. That by the light of nature people 
are taught tc> be their own carvers and contrivers 
in the framing of that government under which 
they mean to live ; 2. That none are to prefide 


3 66 The right Conjlitution of a 

in government, or fit at the helm, but fuch as 
fliall be judged fit, and chofen by the people ; 
3. That the people are the only proper judges of 
the convenience or inconvenience of a govern- 
ment when it is erected, and of the behaviour of 
governors after they are chofen. But then it is 
infifted, that rational and regular means mail be 
ufed that the whole people may be their own 
carvers, that they may judge and choofe who 
(hall prefide, and that they may determine on the 
convenience or inconvenience of government, and 
the behaviour of governors. But then it is in- 
fifted, that the town of Berwick upon Tweed 
fliall not carve, judge, choofe, and determine for 
the whole kingdom of Great Britain, nor the 
county of Berkshire for the Maflachufetts ; much 
lefs th :t a lawlefs tyrannical rabble mall do all 
this for the date, or even for the county of Berk- 
fhire. *./.. 

It may be, and is admitted, that a free govern- 
ment is mofl natural, and only fuitable to the 
reafon of mankind ; but it by no means follows 
cc that the other forms, as a (landing power in the 
<c hands of a particular perfonj as a king, or of 
" a fet number pf great ones, as in a fenate," much 
lefs that a mixture of the three fimple forms 
<c are befide th^ dictates of nature, and mere 
" artificial devicis of great men, fquared only to 
cc ferve the ends and interests of avarice, pride, 
** and ambition of a few, to a valTallizing of the 
** community.'' If the original and fountain of 
all power and government is in the people, as un- 
doubtedly it is, the people have as clear a right 
to ere& a fimple monarchy, ariftocracy, or demo- 
cracy, or an equal mixture, or any other mixture 
of all three, if they judge it for their liberty, 
happinefs, and profperity, as they have to erecl: a 

democracy j 

Commonwealth, examined. 367 

democracy ; and infinitely greater and better men 
than Marchamont Nedham, and the wifeft nations 
that ever lived, have preferred fuch mixtures, and 
even with fuch (landing powers, as ingredients in 
their compofitions. But even thofe nations who 
choofe to referve in their own hands the period^ 
cal choice of the firft magiflrate, fenate, and af- 
fembly, at certain ftated periods, have as clear a 
right to appoint a firft magiftrate for life as for 
years, and for perpetuity in his defcendants as 
for life. When I fay for perpetuity, or for life, 
it is always meant to imply, that the fame people 
have at all times a right to interpofe, and to de- 
pofe for mal-adminiftration to appoint anew. 
No appointment of a king or fenate, or any {land- 
ing power, can be, in the nature of things, fora 
longer period than quam diu fe bene geflerit, the 
whole nation being judge. An appointment for 
life, or perpetuity, can be no more than an ap- 
pointment until furtherorder ; but further order 
can only be given by the nation : and until the 
nation mall have given the order, an eftate for 
life, or in fee, is held in the office. It mufl be 
a great occafion which can induce a nation to 
take fuch a fubjeft into confideration and make a 
change. Until a change is made, an hereditary 
limited monarch is the representative of the whole 
nation, for the management of the executive 
power, as much as an houfe of reprefentatives is, 
as one branch of the legiflature, and as guardian 
of the public purfe ; and a houfe of lords too, or 
a' (landing fenate, reprefents the nation for other 
purpofes, viz. as a watch fet upon both the re- 
prefentatives and the executive power. The peo- 
ple are the fountain and original of the power of 
kings and lords, governors and fenates, as well 
as the houfe of commons, or aflembly of repre- 
fentatives : 

368 The right Conjlitution of a 

fentatives : and if the people are fufficiently en- 
lightened to fee all the dangers that furround 
them, they will always be reprefented by a diftinft 
perfonage to manage the whole executive power ; 
a diftindl fenate, to be guardians of property 
againft: levellers for the purpofes of plunder, to 
be a repofitoryof the national tradition of public 
maxims, cuftoms, and manners, and to be con- 
troulers in turn both of kings and their minifters 
on one fide, and the reprefentatives of the people 
on the other, when either difcover a'difpofition to 
do wrong; and a diftincl houfe of reprefentatives, 
to be the guardians of the public purfe, and to 
protect the people in their turn againft both kings 
and nobles. A fcience certainly comprehends all 
the principles in nature which belong to the fub- 
je6l. The principles in nature which relate to 
government cannot all be known, without a know- 
ledge of the hiftory of mankind. The Englifh 
conftitution is the only one which has confidered 
and provided for all cafes that are known to have 
generally, indeed to have always happened in the 
progrefs of every nation ; it is, therefore, the only 
fcientifical government. To fay then that (land- 
ing powers have been erected, as mere artificial 
devices of great men, to ferve the ends of avarice, 
pride, and ambition of a few, to the vaflfallizing of 
the community, is to declaim and abufe. Stand- 
ing powers have been inftituted to avoid greater 
evils, corruption, fedition, war, and bloodfhed, in 
elections ; it is the people's bufmefs, therefore, to 
find out fome method of avoiding them, without 
ftanding powers. The Americans flatter them- 
felves they have hit upon it : and no doubt they 
have for a time, perhaps a long one : but this 
remains to be proved by experience. 


Commonwealth , examined. 369 

|!ff> Our author proceeds : " A confent and free 
<e election of the people, which is the mod na- 
" tural way and form of governing, hath no real 
" effect in the other forms ; but is either fup- 
" planted by craft and cuflom, or fwallowed up 
" by a pernicious pretence of right, in one or 
ce many, to govern only by virtue of an heredi- 
" tary fucceffion." If the people are fo unen- 
ligtened, and fo corrupt, that they cannot manage 
one third part of a legislature and their own purfes 
by their reprefentatives, how much worfe would 
it be if they had the whole, and all the executive 
and judicial powers, to manage ? But the affertion 
is not true. The confent and free election of the 
people has a great and decided effect in the 
Englifh conftitution, and would have had much 
more if it had been more equal : but if the prefent 
inequalities cannot be altered, nor a vote obtained 
to alter them in the houfe of commons, nor any 
general application of the people to have them 
altered, what would be the effect of the whole 
executive and'judicial powers, were they in the 
hands of the houfe ? The leading members would 
employ both thefe refources, not only to prevent 
the reprefentation from being rendered more 
equal, but to make it ftill more unequal. Our 
author, alluding to the times of Charles and 
James, had fome colour for reprefenting the 
power of the commons as of little effect ; but he 
faw that an attempt, or fufpicion of one, to grafp 
all power into the hands of the crown, had proved 
the deftruction both of king and lords j this, 
furely, was a real and great effect. If nations 
will entangle their conftitutions with fpirituai 
lords, and elective lords, and with decayed bo- 
roughs, how can it be avoided ? But would not 
the nation fend bifhops and elective lords into a 
VOL. III. 3 B fingle 

370 The right Conftitittion of a 

fmgle houfe as their deputies ? and would not the 
utmoft artifices of bigotry, fuperftition, and en- 
thufiafm, be fet at work among the people, as well 
as bribery and corruption at elections ? If the peo- 
ple cannot be fufficiently enlightened, by education 
and the prefs, to defpife and refent, as infults and 
impofitions on human nature, all pretences of 
right drawn from uninterrupted fucceflions or di- 
vine miffions, they will be duped by them in one 
afiembly more than in three. . Our author has n ; o 
more right to call his project " the people's form/* 
any more than Montefquieu, Blackftone, and De 
Lolme, have to call their admired fyftem by that 
endearing appellation : both are the people's 
form, if the people adopt, choofe, and prefer 
them ; and neither, if they do not. The people 
have liberty to make ufe of that reafon and un- 
derftanding God hath given them, in choof- 
ing governors, and providing for their fafety in 
government, where they annually choofe all ; 
nay, they have even where the king and fenate 
are hereditary, as long as they have the choice 
of an eflfential branch, no law can be made, no 
money rai fed, not one ftep can be taken, without 
their concurrence ; nay, there is no one aft can 
.be done by the tninifters of the executive, but 
the people, by their reprefentatives, can enquire 
into, and profecute to judgment and to punifh- 
rnent if it is wrong. Our author will not con- 
fider the cafe of a- mixed government ; all govern- 
ments muft be fimple with him ; the people muft 
exercife all power, or none. He had his reafons 
for this artifice at that time, which do not exift at 
this : His reafons, however, were not fufficient ; 
and if the nation had been dealt with more can- 
didly, openly, and boldly, by him, and Milton, 
and others, a better fettlement might have been 


Commonwealth , examined* 371 

obtained. But it is plain that Milton, Nedham, 
and even Harrington, wrote in (hackles ; but had 
Nedham and Milton underftood the fcience of 
government as vpell as Harrington, Charles had 
never been reftored. Our author, inftead of con- 
fidering the projedt of two aflemblies, as Harring- 
ton did, flies from the idea, and will allow no 

* c In the other forms of a (landing power, all 
" authority being entailed on certain peribns and 
<s families, in a courfe of inheritance, men are 
" deprived of the ufe of their reafon about choice 
" of governors." In mixed governments, even 
fuch as Sparta, Athens, Rome, Carthage, imper- 
fect as thofe mixtures were, our author very well 
knew, that although fome authority was entailed, 
all was not. In America none at all is entailed, 
or held for more than a term of years : their 
courfe, therefore, is not " deftru&ive to the rea- 
u fon, common intereft, and majefty of that noble 
" creature called man," and has avoided " that 
cc mod irrational and brutifh principle, fit only to 
" be hifled out of the world, which has transform- 
" ed men into beads, and mortified mankind with 
" mifery through all generations." 

This violent declamation, however, does not 
remove the danger of venality, faction, feditioii, 
and civil war, in the choice of governors and fena- 
tors, principles .more brutifli and irrational, more 
fit to be hifled out of the world, than hereditary 
kings and fenates evils, indeed, if you will, but 
the lead of the two. Hereditary fenators, it is 
certain, have not been the advocates, abettors, or 
ele&ors, in general, of abfolute monarchies ; no 
fuch government ever was, or will be, ere&ed or 
fupported but againft their wills. It is the peo- 
ple, who, wearied and irritated with the felicita- 

37 2 The right C on/lit ution of a 

tions, bribes, intrigues, and tyranny of the nobles, 
and their eternal fquabbles with kings, have al- 
ways fet up monarchy, and fortified it with an 
army. Our author proceeds to fearch for exam- 
ples all over the world ; and fixes firft upon mo- 
narchy, abfolute hereditary monarchy : but as 
Americans have no thoughts of introducing this 
form of government, it is none of their concern to 
vindicate the honour of fuch kings or kingdoms. 
Two quarters of the globe, Afia and Africa, are 
governed wholly by defpotifms. There are in Eu- 
rope near two hundred fimple monarchs, and in 
the courfe of the two laft centuries, allowing 20 
years to each reign, two thoufand abfolute prin- 
ces*. If thefe have been generally of fuch a 
character as our author defcribes, what are we to 
think of the pride and dignity of that rational, 
noble animal, man, who has fubmitted fo quietly 
to their tyranny. Mr. Hume thinks more fa- 
vourably of them ; and he has the judgment of 
the fpecies in his favour. The fpecies, not hav- 
ing yet attended to the balance and tried its vir- 
tues, have almoft univerfally determined monar- 
chy preferable to ariftocracy ; or mixtures of mo- 
narchy and ariftocracy ; becaufe they find the peo- 
ple have more liberty under the firft than under 
the two laft. They may poflibly one day try the 
experiment of mixtures and balances : when they 
do, a greater improvement in fociety will take 
.place thaa ever yet has happened. Nations too 
have tried the experiment of elective monarchies, 
in Bohemia, Poland, Hungary. Sweden, &c. 
inftances which our author adduces : but after 
long miferies, wars, and carnage, they have al- 
ways deter mined chance to be better than choice, 

* Hume's Eflays, vol. i. p. 98. 


Commonwealth, examined. 373 

and hereditary princes preferable to elective ones. 
Thefe elections, it is true, have been made by 
nobles, and by very inadequate methods of col- 
lecting the votes ot the people; and when elected, 
there has been no good balance between them and 
the nobles, nor between the nobles and the people. 
The Americans have hoped that thefe circumftances 
might be arranged fo as to juftify one more expe- 
riment of elective executives, as well as fenates 
and reprefentatives. They have not adopted our 
author's idea, that if.any kingly form be tolerable, 
it muft be that which is by election, chofen by 
the people's reprefentatives. They were well 
aware, that <c prefent greatnefs would give their 
<c governors an opportunity to practife Heights, 
" fuch (leights, that in a Ihort time the govern- 
" ment ? that they received only for theirown lives, 
" will become entailed upon their families ; 
" whereby the election will be made of no effect 
* 6 further than for fafhion, to mock the poor peo- 
" pie, and adorn the triumphs of an afpiring 
" tyranny." An hereditary firft magiftrate at once 
would, perhaps, be preferable to elections by legif- 
lative reprefentatives : it is impoflible to fay, until 
it is fairly tried, whether it would not be better than 
annual elections by the people ; or whether elec- 
tions for more years, or for life, would not be 
better dill. 

Our author concludes by a very curious defini- 
tion of the people : " To take off all mifconftruc- 
" tions, when we mention the people, obferve all 
e; along, that we do not mean the confufed pro- 
<c mifcuous body of the people,- nor any part of 
" the people who have forfeited their rights by 
" delinquency, neutrality, or apoftacy, &c. in re- 
** lation to the divided (late of any nation ; for 
" they are not to be reckoned within the lifts of 


374 Vbe right Conftitution of 4 

" the people." This wife precaution to exclude 
all royalifts, prelatifts, and malignants, accord- 
ing to the flyle of thofe times, was very fagacious : 
and all majorities will ever be equally penetrating 
in fuch a Right Conftitution of a commonwealth 
as our author contends for the minority will fel- 
dom be accounted people. 

The thirteenth reafon is " becaufe in free dates 
* c there are fewer opportunities of oppreffion and 
'* tyranny than in other forrr\s." 

This is very true, and moft cordially admitted ; 
but then the queftion occurs, what is a free (late ? 
In the ariftocracy of Venice and Poland there are 
opportunities of oppreflion and tyranny : and al- 
though our author's Right Conftitution of a Com- 
monwealth has never been tried, the unanimous 
determination of all nations having been againft 
it, and almoft the univerfal voice of individuals ; 
yet the inftantaneous effects of it upon human 
nature are fo obvious, that it is eafy to forefee it 
would afford more opportunities for tyranny and 
oppreffion, and would multiply fuch opportuni- 
ties more than ariftocracy or even monarchy ; be- 
caufe the leaders of the majority in the houfe 
would be fupported and ftimulated by their par- 
ties continually to tyrannize and opprefs the 
minority. The reafon given by our author in 
fupport of his pofition is directly againft it : " It 
" is ever the cafe of free commonwealths to pre- 
'* ferve not an equality, which were irrational and 
" odious, but an equability of condition among 
" all the members." Equality, it feems, was not 
his favourite : this would not do in England, to 
be fure, any more than America. What his dif- 
tin&ion is between equality and equability is not 
known : he defines it, " that no man be permit- 

" ted 

Commonwealth, examined. 375 

c * ted to grow over great in power." But how 
much is over great ? this is reduced to no (land- 
ard. " Nor any rank above the ordinary ftandard." 
What is this ? Excellencies, honourables, gentle- 
men, yeomen, and labourers, are really as diftindt 
ranks, and confer as different degrees of confidera- 
tion, refpeft, and influence, among a people who 
have no other diftin&ions, as dukes, marquifies, 
earls, and barons, in nations that have adopted 
thefe titles, and the higher are as eagerly coveted 
by the lower. But at Tail the fecret comes out 
" to aflume the flate and title of nobility." The 
houfe of lords had been voted ufelefs, and it was 
our author's fyftem" to keep it down ; without 
confidering that the thing would ilill exift, call it 
by what name you will. 

" Preferving the equability fecures the peo- 
** pie's liberty from the reach of their own officers, 
" in camp or council." But no people ever yet 
were provident enough to preferve either equality 
or equability. Their eternal fault is too much 
gratitude to thofe who ftudy their humours, flatter 
their pailions, and become their favourites. They 
never know any bounds in their praifes, honours, 
or rewards, to thofe who poflefs their confidence, 
and have excited their enthufiafm. The reputa- 
tion of their idol becomes as complete a tyranny 
as can be ereded among men : it is a crime that 
is not to be born, to fpeak a word, to betray a 
look, in oppofition to him ; nay, not to pro- 
nounce their moil inflamed hyperboles in his 
praife, with as ardent a tone as theirs, is envy, dif- 
affection, ambition. u Down with him ! the Tar- 
ic peian rock !" as foon as Manlius dares to think a 
little higher of his own fervices, and a little lower 
of Camillus, than the fafhion. Ariftocracies are 
anxious and eager to prevent any one of the no- 

" "Kqr 

" ;T 'V 
rrV'<. -^ 1 <J 

376 The right Conftitution of a 

bility from overtopping the reft; monarchies are 
jealous of any very great near the throne ; but an 
unmixed, unbalanced people, are never fatisfied 
till they make their idol a tyrant. An equal mix- 
ture of monarchy, ariflocracy, and democracy, is 
the only free government which has been able to 
manage the greatefl heroes and ftatefmen, the 
greatefl individuals and families, or combination 
of them, fo as to keep them always obedient to 
the laws. A Marlborough, a Pulteney, or a Pitt, 
are here harmlefs beings : but in Rome a Marl- 
borough would have been worfe than Marius, 
Sylla, or Casfar ; in Athens, worfe than Themif- 
tocles, Pericles, or Alcibiades, becaufe, with all 
their ambition, he had more avarice, and lefs 

" Not allowing any rank above the common 
" ftandard fecures the people from the preflures 
" and ambition of fuch petty tyrants as would 
" ufurp and claim a prerogative, power, and 
" greatnefs, above others, by birth and inheri- 
cc tance." Thefe expreflions have all the keen- 
nefs and bitternefs of party rancour ; and although 
they were, at that time, no doubt, mufic to his 
friends, and death to his enemies, they are fo dif- 
ficult to avoid in fuch times, that on the one 
hand candid philofophy will extenuate their fero- 
city, but on the other political wifdom will for 
ever be on its guard againft their feductions. 
" Thefe," that is a nobility, " are a fort of men 
" not to be endured in any well-ordered common- 
" wealth." If thefe words are true, no well-or- 
dered commonwealth ever exifted ; for we read of 
none without a nobility, no, not one, that I can 
recollect, without an hereditary nobility Spar- 
ta, Athens, Rome, Venice, Bern, Holland, even 
Geneva, and St. Marino, &c. where (hall we look 


Commonwealth^ examined. 377 

for one without ? It would be an improvement in 
the affairs of fociety, probably, if the hereditary 
legal defcent could be avoided ; and this experi- 
ment the Americans have tried. But in this cafe 
a nobility muft and will exift, though without 
the name, as really as in countries where it is 
hereditary ; for the people, by their .elections, 
will continue the government generally in the 
fame families from generation to generation, De- 
fcent from certain parents, and inheritance of 
certain houfes, lands, and other vifible objects, 
will eternally have fuch an influence over the 
affections and imaginations of the people, as no 
arts or inftitutions of policy will controul. Time 
will come, if it is now or ever was otherwife, that 
thefe circumftances will have more influence over 
great numbers of minds than any confideration of 
virtues or talents ; and whatever influences num- 
bers, is of great moment in popular governments, 
and in all elections. " They always bear a na- 
" tural and implacable hate towards the people.'* 
This is too ftrong and univerfal. The Romans 
obferved certain families, as the Valerii, &c. who 
were conftant friends and lovers of the people, as , 
well as others, the Claudii, &c. who as conftantly 
hated them. It has been before admittted, that fuch 
a body naturally encroaches both ways, on the peo- 
ple on one fide, and on the king on the other* 
The people hate and envy them as much, and 
endeavour equally to encroach : but the fame 
fentiments, paflions, and enterprises, take place 
between the democratical body and the ariftocra- 
tical, where the laft is not hereditary, but annually 
elective. Our author's next argument is ftill more 
grofsly erroneous. If any great man arrives at 
" fo much power and confidence as to think of 
cc ufurping, thefe are the firft that will fet him on, 
VOL, III. 3 G " mingls 

37$ Tire right Conflltutlon of a 

" mingle interefts with him, and become the 
" prime initruments in heaving them up into the 
" feat of tyranny." It is true, that fome few 
individuals of a nobility may join fueh a man in 
his confpiracy, in hopes of enjoying high ftations 
and great emoluments under him ; but fuch an 
iifurpation was never fet on foot by a body 
of nobility : it has ever been the people who 
have fet up fingle defpots, in oppofition to the 
body of the nobility ; and it is the people wha 
have furnifhed the men and money to fupport the 
(landing army by which he is defended. If any 
one example of the contrary is to be found, it has 
efcaped a diligent enquiry. 

It is very unneceflary to produce " examples, to 
" mew that dates have loft their liberties by per- 
mitting one or a few to be over great." Every 
monarchy, oligarchy, and ariflocracy, is an in- 
ftance and a proof of it. The very notion of a 
free people's lofing their liberties, implies the 
fetting up one or a few with too much power. 
1 his will be readily admitted; but it is con- 
tended, that the people in a fimple democracy, 
collectively or by reprefentation, are neceflarily 
the moft addicted to fetting up individuals with 
too much power. To fay that it is their duty not 
to do it ; that their happinefs forbids it; that 
their intereft is againft it ; that their liberty will 
be ruined by it, is to exhort and to preach to be 
fure. The clergy exhort and preach in favour of 
religion and morality, and againft prophanenefs 
and vice ; but there are numbers, multitudes, we 
find, who will not regard them ; and laws, checks, 
power, are the only fecurity againft thefe. The 
thirty tyrants of Athens, Pififtratus, Hiero of 
Syracufe, Dionyfius and Agathocles of Sicily, are 
very oddly introduced here, wh^n every def- 


Commonwealth, examined. 379 

potifm, empire, monarchy, oligarchy, and arifto- 
cracy, that ever had a being, is as much to the 
purpofe. Melius and Manlius are cited very 
improperly. The Decemviri, Sylla, Cadar, are 
no more to the purpofe than all tyrannies or ab- 
folute governments ; all of which are proofs of 
the people's indifcretion, and conftant difpofition 
to fet up idols, as much as they are of the danger 
of permitting individuals to be too powerful. 

Florence and Cofmus, Milan and Switzerland, 
and Holland and the family of Orange, are all 
proofs againft our author. There is not a ftronger 
inftance to be found than the houfe of Orange, 
which has been fupported by the people, I mean 
the plebeians, againft the ariftocracy, and who in 
their courfe have facrificed to their deified pro- 
teclors, Barnevelts, Grotius's ; and De Witts's, pa- 
triots that one need not fcruple, to compare to 
Ariftides's, Phocions, and Camillus's ; and, horrid 
as the facrifice has been, one need not fcruple to 
fay, that all the liberty there has been in Hol- 
land for the common people, has been preferved 
by this alliance between the houfe of Orange 
and them, againft the encroaching difpofition 
of the ariftocracy, as much as the liberties of 
Sparta were preferved by the oath of the kings 
and Ephori. It would, neverthelefs, be an in- 
finite improvement, if the power of the prince 
and common people were defined, limited, and 
made conftitutional and legal. 

The author's principle is excellent and eter- 
nal, " to keep any man, though he have de- 
" ferved never fo well by fuccefs or fervice, 
"from being too great or popular;" " it is 
" indeed a notable means (and fo efteemed by 
" all free ftates) to keep and preferve a cotn- 
** naonwealth from the rapes of ufurpation." 


380 The right Conftilution of a 

But the queftion between us ftill is, how it is to 
be done ? In a fimple ariftocracy it is impoflible ; 
with all their pride, jealoufy, and envy, fome one, 
and fome few of the nobles, obtain more influ- 
ence than the reft, and would foon obtain all 
power, if ballots and rotations, and innumerable 
intricate contrivances were not ufed to prevent it. 
In a limple democracy no ballots or rotations can 
prevent it ; one fingle tyrant will rule the whole 
commonwealth at his pleafure, refpecling forms 
and appearances a little at firft, but prelently 
throwing off" all reftraint. How can you prevent 
a man in fuch a government from being too 
popular ? There can be nothing to prevent him 
from making himfelf as popular as his abilities, 
fortune, or birth, will enable him to be ; nothing 
to prevent him from employing the whole execu- 
tive and judicial power : nothing to prevent him 
from applying the puplic purfe to the augmenta- 
tion of his own popularity and power : in fhort, 
nothing but the mixture we contend for can pre- 
vent it. The King and lords are interefted to pre* 
vent any commonor from being too popular and 
powerful ; the King and commons are interefted 
to keep any lord from being too popular and 
powerful ; and the lords and commons are in- 
terefted to prevent the king from being too popu- 
lar and powerful, and they always have the means. 
There is not a ftronger argument againft our 
author's form, nor in favour of the triple com'po- 

'''* ' '<'.'. >-' r'^f'c.fT ~ . - i* ''**/r t '' ^f '" **'' 

The fourteenth and laft reafon is, " becaufe in 
" this form all powers are accountable for mif- 
" demeanors in government, in regard of the 
* nimble returns and periods of the people's 
^ election ; by which means he that ere while 

" was 

Commonwealth, examined. c 38 1 

" was a governor, being reduced to the condition 
" of a fubject, lies open to the force of the laws, 
" and may with eafe be brought to punifhment 
" for his offence." 

In a free government, whofe legiflature confifts 
of three independent branches, one of which 
has the whole executive, this is true. Every 
member of the two houfes is as amenable to the 
laws as his pooreft fellow-citizen : the king can 
do nothing but by minifters, who are accountable 
for every act they do or advife ; and this refponfi- 
bility is efficacious to protect the laws from being 
trampled on by any perfon or perfons, however 
exalted in office, reputation, or popularity. But 
in our author's " Right Conftitution" no member 
can be refponfible to any but his conftituents ; and 
by means of the influence of the executive power 
and the offices it beftows, by means of perverfions 
of the judicial power, and even of the public 
treafure, which his party will affift him in apply- 
ing to his purpofe, he will be able to procure a 
pardon among his conftituents in a fmgle city or 
borough, and a re-election ; nay, he will be able to 
procure applaufe and rewards for that very cri- 
minal conduct which deferved punifhment. There 
is no form of government, not even an abfolute 
monarchy, where a minifter will find it fo eafy to 
elude enquiry ; recollect the inftance in Poland. 

" He that was once a governor, will generally 
** continue always a governor, becaufe he will apply 
" all the executive and judicial authority, and even 
" the public money, as well as his perfonal and fa- 
" mily influence, to increafe that party in the legif- 
" lature," i. e. the fmgle aflembly, upon whofe 
fupport he depends. By a governor here is no 
doubt intended a perfon appointed by the aflem- 
to manage the executive power. Such a go- 

382 The right Conftltution of a 

vernor will generally be continued ; but if he is 
not, he will be fucceeded by another of the fame 
party, who will fcreen and fupport him, while he 
again takes his ftation in the houfe, and fupports 
or rules his fucceflbr. But if oppofition prevails 
in the houfe and nation,and the minority becomes 
the majority, they will be fo weak as not to dare 
to look back and punifh ; and if they do, this will 
again render them unpopular, and reftore the 
reins to their antagonift : in this way, after a few 
vibrations of the pendulum, they muft have re- 
courfe to arms to decide the conteft. Thefe 
confequences are fo obvious and indifputable, 
that h is amazing to read the triumphant afifer- 
tions which follow. u Such a courfe as this cuts 
<c the very throat of tyranny, and doth not only 
<c root it up when at full growth, but crumeth 
" the cocatrice in the egg, deftroys in the feed, in 
* c the principle, and in the very poffibilities of its 
" being for ever after." "The fafety of the people 
<c is/' indeed, " the fovereign and fupreme law !'* 
and if " Laws are difpenfed by uncontroulable, 
" unaccountable perfons in power, they will never 
" be interpreted but in their own fenfe,nor execut- 
" ed but after their own wills and pleafure." But 
it is unaccountable that our author did not fee that 
it is precifeiy in his Right Conftitution of a Com- 
monwealth that we are to expect fuch uncon- 
troulable and unaccountable perfons, at leaft as 
certainly as in a fimple monarchy or ariftocracy. 
The only * c eftablifhment" then, in which we may 
depend upon therefponfibility of men in power, 
and upon their being actually called to account, 
and punifhed when they deferve it, is the tripartite 
balance, the political trinity in unity, trinity of 
legiflative, and unity of executive power, which in 
politics is no myftery. This alone is " the im- 

" pregnable 

Commonwealth, examined. 383 

" pregnable bulwark of the people's fafety, be- 
" caufe without it no certain benefit can be ob- 
" tained by the ordinary laws." This alone is 
*' the bank againft inundations of arbitrary pow- 
" er and tyranny/' 

Our author aflerts very truly, " that all ftand- 
" ing powers" (meaning unlimited, unbalanced, 
ftanding powers, as hereditary fimple monarchies 
and ariitocracies) " have, and ever do affume unto 
* c themfelves an arbitrary exercife of their own 
" dictates at pleafure, and make it their only in- 
" tereft to fettle themfelves in an unaccountable 
* c ftate of dominion ; fo that, though they commit 
" all the injuftice in the world, their cuftom hath 
" been ftili to perfuade men, partly by ftrong pre- 
" tence of argument, and partly by force, that 
<c they may do what they lift ; and that they are 
" not bound to give an account of their actions 
" to any but to Godhimfelf/' This is perfectly 
true, and very important. But our author did 
not confider, that the leading men in a fingle po- 
pular aflembly will make it their intereft to fettle 
themfelves in a ftate of dominion ; that they will 
perfuade men, by ftrong pretence of argument, by 
force, by the temptations of offices, civil, mili- 
tary, fifcal, and ecclefiaftical, and by the allure- 
ments and terrors of judgments in the executive 
courts ofjuftice, to connive at them while they 
do what they lift, and to believe them God's 
vicegerents. Our author forgets, that he who 
makes bifhops and judges, may have what gofpei 
and law he pleafes ; and he who makes admirals 
and generals, may command their fleets and ar- 
mies. He forgets that one overgrown Segamore 
in the houfe, with his circle of fubordinate chief- 
tains, each with his clan at his heels, will make 
bifhops, judges, admirals, generals, governors of 


3 $4 The right Conftituiion of a 

provinces, &c. in as great number, and with as 
much facility, as an abfolute monarch. This in- 
advertence in our author is the more remarkable 
for what follows. " This dodrine of tyranny hath 
" taken the deeper root in men's minds,becaufe the 
" greateft part (i. e. the greateft part of mankind) 
" was ever inclined to adore the golden idol of 
" tyranny in every form; by which means the 
" rabble of mankind being prejudicated in this 
" particular, and having placed their corrupt hu- 
<c mour or intereft in bafe fawning, and the favour 
" of the prefent great ones, therefore, if any re- 
" folute fpirit happen to broach and maintain true 
"principles of freedom, or do at any time arife 
" to fo much courage as to perform a noble aft of 
" juftice, in calling tyrants to an account, pre- 
" fently he draws all the enmity and fury of the 
<c world about him." It is really aftonifhing that 
any man could write thefe words, and not fee that 
they totally overthrow the whole fyftem of go- 
vernment that he calls the Right Conftitution of 
a Commonwealth. " The greateft part of men 
<c was ever inclined to adore the golden idol ;" 
yet his Conftitution places the golden idol in the 
midft of the people, without any check or re- 
ftraint, that they may fall down and worfhip as 
foon as they will. He places all power in the 
hands of that very "rabble of mankind," who have 
" prejudicated in favour of tyranny :" he places 
" great ones" in the midft of thefe, who " have 
" placed their corrupt humour and intereft in bafe 
" fawning, and the favour of thofe prefent great 
" ones. Human nature is not honoured by this 
account of it, nor has it juftice done it. With- 
out fuppofing the majority fo bad, if we fuppofe 
one third or one quarter of this character, and 
another third or quarter indifferent, neutral, luke- 

Commonwealth , axamined. 385 

warm, or even enough in love with private life 
and their own induftry to flay at home at elec- 
tions, this is enough to demonftrate the tyranny 
and ruin to which fuch a fimple democracy would 
rufh. But our author's device for extricating 
himfelf out of this difficulty is more curious ftill. 
Although the greateft part of men always incline 
to worfhip the golden calf Tyranny, yet cc in com- 
" mon wealths it is, and ought to be, otherwife. 
a The Greeks and Romans were wont to heap all 
" the honours they could invent, by public re- 
" wards, confecrations of ftatues, and crowns of 
" laurel, upon fuch worthy patriots as had the 
" courage to call tyrants to account." Here he 
can only mean the ftories of Harmodius and Arif- 
togeton, Brutus and Caflius ; fo that all the fecu- 
rity which freedom is to have is, that as foon as a 
great one arifes in his aflembly, and the majority 
begin to fawn, fome Harmodius or Caflius will 
arife to aflaflinate him. But we know that the 
m s urder of Hipparchus only inflamed Hippias, 
and that of Caefar entailed the empire in his fa- 
mily, and the murder of Alexander by Lorenzo 
completed the deipotifm of the Medici. The 
ill fuccefs of liberty, in thofe inftances, ought to 
be a warning againft fuch attempts in future* ra- 
ther than precedents on which to build all the 
hopes of the caufe of liberty. The right of a 
nation to kill a tyrant, in cafes of neceflity, can 
no more be doubted, than that to hang a robber, 
or kill a flea : but killing one tyrant only makes 
way for a worfe, unlefs the people have fenfe, fpi- 
rit, and honefty enough to eftablifh and fupport a 
conftitution guarded at all points againft tyranny ; 
againft the tyranny of the one, the few, and the 
many. Let it be the ftudy, therefore, of law- 
givers and philofophers, to enlighten the people's 
VOL. III. 3 D underftandings, 

386 The right Conjlituiion of a 

understandings, and improve their morals, by good 
and general education ; to enable them to com- 
prehend the icheme of government, and to know 
upon what points their liberties depend ; to dif- 
fipate thole vulgar prejudices and popular fuper- 
ftitions that oppofe themfelves to good govern- 
ment ; and to teach them that obedience to the 
laws is as indifpenfable in them as in lords and 

Our author contends, " that the honours decreed 
" to tyrannicides by the Greeks and Romans, were 
* beftowed out of a noble fenfe of commonweal 
" intereft ; knowing that the life of liberty confifts 
" in a drift hand and zeal againft tyrants and ty- 
" ranny :" but he mould have recollected, that in 
Rome thefe honours were decreed to fenators, for 
fupporting the (landing authority of an hereditary 
fenate againft fingle men who afpired to popular 
favour, but never in any inftance in fupport of 
fuch a government as he contends for. In Greece 
too, there is no inftance of any honors decreed for 
deftroying tyrants, in defence, of any fuch govern- 
ment. The government of Athens was as diffe- 
rent as podible from that of a fingle aflembly of 
fucceffive reprefentatives of the people. It is 
agreed that " perfons in power cannot be kept 
" from all occafions of tyranny better than by leav- 
" ing them liable to account ;" but it is denied 
that perfons in power can ever be brought to ac- 
count, unlefs by affaffination (which is no account 
at all) in a government by a fingle fovereign af- 
fembly : and it is aflerted that this " happinefs 
" was never feen yet under the fun, by any law or 
" cuftom eftablifhed, fave only in thofe ftates 
" where all men are brought to tafte of iubjec~lion 
" as well as rule," afx , xai a?%ec re;, by a go- 
vernment of three branches reciprocally depen- 
dent on each other. 

" In 

Commonwealth^ examined. 387 

" In Switzerland the people are free indeed, 
* c becaufe ail officers and governors in the cantons 
" are queftionable by the people in their fuccef- 
" five aflemblies." What does he mean ? in the 
ariftocratical aflemblies ? The people have no af- 
femblies, and officers are called to account only 
in (landing councils. In the democratical cantons 
there is nothing to account for but milk and 
cheefe. But why (hould England be forgotten, 
where all officers are queftionable, and often have 
been questioned, by the people in their fucceffive 
aflemblies ; and where the judicature in parliament 
is digefted with infinitely more prudence than in 1 
any canton in Switzerland, or any other republic 
in the world. 

ft is agreed that cc freedom is to be preferved 
" no other way in a commonwealth, but by keep- 
"> ing officers and governors in an unaccountable 
" ftate ;" but it is infifted, that ail " (landing 
" powers" in the Englifh conftitution, as the lords 
and minifters who conduct the prerogative of the 
crown, may at any time be called to account 
without the lead " difficulty, or involving the 
" nation in blood and mifery." But it is denied 
that powerful men, in our .author's " Right Con- 
" ftitution," can be called to account, without 
the utmoft difficulty, and danger of involving the na- 
tion in blood and mifery ; and therefore it is con- 
cluded, that the Englifli conftitution is infinitely 
preferable to any fucceflion of the fingle fupreme 
aflemblies of the reprefentatives of the people. 

Our author having eftablimed his building upon 
fourteen folid pillars, as he feems to think, pro- 
ceeds to anfwer objections. The firft objection is, 
" that fuch a government would fet on levelling 
< 6 and confufion.'* By levelling, he underftands"le- 

" veiling 

388 The right Conftitutlon of a 

" veiling all men in point of eftates ;" " making 
" all things common to all ;" cc deftroying pro- 
u perty ;" cc introducing a community of enjoy- 
" ments among men." This he allows to be " an 
" oclious thing, a fcandal fattened by the cunning of 
" the common enemy upon this kind of government, 
* c which they hate above all others." We are not 
then put to the trouble of examining the whim- of Plato or Xenophon, about a community of 
goods, wives, and children ; nor thofe of Sir 
Thomas More, about a community of property 
only. He afferts, that his pro] eft is " fo far from 
" introducing a community, that it is the only 
" prefervative of property in every particular." 
It is agreed that it would not introduce levelling, 
nor a community of goods, unlefs the poor fhould 
be more numerous than the rich, and rife for a 
divifion. But even this would produce but a 
temporary level ; the new acquifitions would foon 
be fpent, and the inequality become as great as 
ever ; and there mud be a perpetual fucceflion of 
divifions and fquanderings, until property became 
too precarious to be fought, and univerlal idle- 
nefs and famine would end it. But the penny- 
lefs, though more numerous, would probably never 
unite;' and the principals of the majority would 
make ufe of the mod artful among them in (trip- 
ping, by degrees, the minority, and accumulating 
for themfelves : fo that inftead of levelling, and 
community of goods, the inequalities both of 
power and property would be conftantly increaf- 
ing, until they became as great as in Poland be- 
tween the gentlemen and peafants. But it is de- 
nied that this would be a prefervative of property ; 
on the contrary, property mud become infecure. 
The ruling party, difpofmg of all offices, and 
annexing what falaries and fees they will ; laying 


Commonwealth, examined. 389 

on all taxes, and diftributing them according to 
their ideas of juftice and equality ; appropriating 
the public money to what ufes they will, and de- 
ciding all caufes in the courts of juftice by their 
own judgments ; in all thefe ways, thenifelves and 
their partifans will be found continually growing 
in wealth, and their antagonifts, the minor party, 
growing poorer ; thefe lalt can have no fecurity of 
property at all. This will not be prevented nor 
alleviated by thofe handfome words of our author: 
" It is not in reafon to be imagined, that fo 
" choice a body as the reprefentatives of a na- 
" tion^ fhoxild agree to deftroy one another In 
" their feveral rights and interefts." A majority 
would be found to agree to deftroy the rights and 
interefts of the minority; and a man's property is 
equally infecure, whether it is plundered by an ar- 
bitrary lawlefs minority, or by a domineering de~ 
cemvirate, triumvirate, or fmgle defpot. " Allde- 
" terminations being carried by common confent, 
" every man's particular intereft rnuft needs be 
cc fairly provided for againft the arbitrary difpo- 
<c fitions of others." If common confent means 
unanimous confent, there might be fame plaufi- 
bility in this : but, as unanimity is impoffible, and 
common confent means the vote of the majority, 
it is felf-evident that the latter are at the mercy of 
the former ; and the government of the latter be- 
ing unbalanced by any equal force, intereft, paf- 
fion, or power, is as real a tyranny as the fove- 
reignty of an hereditary fenate, or thirty tyrants, 
or a fmgle defpot. Our author himfelf confefles 
this in fo many words, when he fays, that what- 
ever u placeth every man's right under the will of 
" another, is no lefs than tyranny,"" feating 
<c itfelf in an unlimited, uncontroulable preroga- 
* e tive over others, without their confent," and 

" is 

39<> The right Conftitutton of a 

" is the very bane of property." Is not the pro- 
perty, liberty, and life of every man in the mi- 
nority under the will of the majority ? and may 
not the majority feat themfelves in an unlimited, 
uncontroulable prerogative over the minority with- 
out their confent ? 

Our author then runs all over^the world in 
fearch of examples, and affirms, that " a free ftate, 
" or fucceffive government of the people," &c. 
expreflions which he always explains to mean his 
Right Conftitution of a Commonwealth, " or fu- 
preme reprefentative aflembly," the fame with 
Mr. Turgot's, all authority collected into one 
centre, the nation, " is the only prefervative of 
" property, as appears by inftances all the world 
<e over," This is a fpecies of fophiftry, grofsly 
calculated to deceive the moft ignorant of the 
people, that is unworthy of fo great and good a 
caufe as that of liberty and republican govern- 
ment. This aflertion is fo wide from the truth, 
that there was not in the world, nor had been, one 
example of fuch a government, excepting the 
long paaliament ; for the Italian republics, which 
refembled it the moft, were ftill better confti- 
tuted. We know what became of the long par- 
liament ; Oliver foon found they were felf-feekers, 
and turned them out of the houfe. 

The reader is next led on, through a feries of 
examples, in a very ^curious (train of popular rant, to 
fliew that monarchies and all (landing powers, 
been levellers. " Under monarchs, fubjects had 
" nothing that they could call their own ; neither 
" lives, nor fortunes, nor wives, nor any thing 
" elfe that the monarchs pleafed to command^ be- 
e< caufe the poor people knew no remedy againfl 
" the levelling will of an unbounded fovereignty." 
-" In France," it is aflerted, " the people have 

" no 

Commonwealth^ examined. 30/1 

" no property, but all depends on the royal plea- 
'< fure, as it did lately in England." The truth 
now almoft breaks out, and he almoft confefles that 
he fees it. cc It is very obfervable, that in king- 
" doms, where the people have enjoyed anything 
" of liberty and property, they have been fuch 
" kingdoms only, where the frame of government 
<c hath been fo well tempered, as that the beft 
ec fhare of it hath been retained in the people's 
" hands." If he had faid an equal fhare, inftead 
of the beft fhare, this fentence would have been 
perfect ; but he fpoils it in the next breath, by 
adding, " and by how much the greater influence 
" the people have had therein, fo much the more 
" fure and certain they have been in the enjoy- < 
" ment of their property." This is by no means 
true ; on the contrary, wherever the people have 
had any fhare in the executive, or more than one 
third part of the legiflative, they have always 
abufed it, and rendered property infecure. 

The Arragonians are quoted as " firm in their 
" liberties and properties, fo long as they held 
" their hold over their kings in their fupreme 
< e aflemblies." " And no fooner had Philip the 
<* fecond deprived them of their fhare in the 
" government, but themfelves and their proper- 
" ties became a prey to the Will and pleafure of 
<c their kings." It is aftonifhing that Arragon 
mould be quoted as an example of a government 
of the people in their fupreme fucceflive aflem- 
blies. If it is to be called a republic, it was fuch 
another as Poland ; it was what is fometimes 
called a mixed monarchy, and fometimes a limit- 
ed monarchy : but as no judgment of a govern- 
ment can be formed by the name that is given it, 
we may fafely pronounce it an ariftocracy. Much 
pains were taken to balance it, but fo awkwardly 


39 2 The right Conflitutim of a 

ancTunfkiifuIly, that its whole hiftory is a fcenc of 
turbulence, anarchy, and civil war. The king 
was, among the twelve rich men, little more than 
primus inter pares, like the king among his twelve 
archons in Phaeacia. Although the royal dignity 
was hereditary, and Arragon was never an elective 
kingdom, yet the confirmation of the ftates to the 
title of the next heir was held neceflary ; and it 
was highly refented if he affumed the royal title, 
or did any public aft, before he had taken an oath 
to preferve the privileges of the ftates. When any 
difpute arofe concerning the fucceffion, the ftates, 
took upon them to decide it. One awkward at- 
tempt to balance the influence of the king was the 
inftitution of a chief juftice*, to whom appeals 
might be made from the king. This judicial 
authority was impowered to controul the king if 
he acted illegally ; and this high officer was ac- 
countable only to the ftates for whatever he did 
in the execution of Jiis office. This was a very 
powerful check. Another attempt to form a ba- 
lance againft the royal authority has been cele- 
brated as one of the moft fublime and fenti- 
mental inftru&ions of liberty. If it had been 
an inftitution of the body of the people, it 
would have been the moft manly and noble afler- 
tion of the rights and natural and moral equality 
of mankind to be found in hiftory, and would 
have merited immortal praife ; but, in fact and 
effect, it was no more than a brilliant expreffion 
of that ariftocratical pride which we have feen to 
be fo common in all the nations of the earth/ At 
the inauguration of the monarch, the chief juftice 
was feated in his robes, on an elevated tribunal, 
with his head covered : the king appeared before 
him bare-headed, fell down upon his knees, and 

* El jufticia de Arragon. 


Commonwealth) examined. 393 

fwpre to govern according to law, and to main- 
tain the privileges of the ftates. Proclamation was 
then made, in the name of the alTembly of the 
ftates " We, who are as good as you are, have 
" accepted you for our king and lord, upon- con- 
" dition that you obferve our laws and protect 
" our liberties*." But who were thefe noble ai- 
fertors of rights ? Not the people. And whofe 
liberties were aflerted ? Not thofe of the people, 
but of a few gentlemen. The men of property, 
who in general had acquired their eftates by their 
fwords, were called rich men-)-, or barons ; for 
whatever titles were afterwards introduced by the 
grants of kings, the right to feats and votes in 
the ftaces arofe not from the rank or dignities of 
d,ukes, marquifles, or counts, but was attached to 
the quality of landholders, rich men, or batons. 
There were not more than twelve old families 
who were the original barons, or ricos hombres, 
of Arragon. In a courfe of time they were dif- 
tinguifhed into the greater and lefler nobility : 
the former were fuch as were raifed by the kings 
to fuperior titles ; the latter were thofe who re- 
tained only their, ancient character of landholders. 
The clergy were reprefented in the ftates by the 
prelates, and the greater cities by deputies ; but 
farmers, the mechanics, the merchants, in one 
word the common people, were, according to the 
doctrine of Ariftotle, not admitted to the rank or 
rights of citizens : they had no feat in the ftates, 
or any vote in the choice of thofe who had. The 
third eftate,'as it was called, or the reprefentatives 
of cities, was very unfkilfully compofed : in fome 
cities the mayor of courfe reprefented the city ; 

* Nos quc valemos tanto como vos os hazemos nueftro rey 
y fegnor con tal que guardeis nueftros fueros y libertades, fi 
no, no. 

f- Los ricos hombres. 

VOL. III. 3 E in 

394 TKe right Conjlituthn of a 

in others the king, appointed the reprefentative \ 
in others it was either by fome grant of the king, 
or fome fenfelefs cuftom of the city, an hereditary 
right in a fingle family; and the beft appointments 
of all were made by the ariftocratical regencies of 
the cities. In fuch an aflembly of the ftates laws 
were made for -the government of the nation ; 
but it was a (ingle aflembly, and neither eftate 
had a negative. If two eftates agreed, it was a 
law ; and, indeed, the mod important queftions, 
even donations of money, were decided by a 
majority, and the chief juftice was the only ba- 
lance againft the oppreflion of any fubjeft, or even 
of the king, and the only guardian of the laws, to 
fee them carried into execution. The rich men 
and the clergy, as well as the king, were fuch 
(landing powers as always excite our author's in- 
vectives ; and the third eftate was as diftant as 
poflible from being an adequate and equitable 
reprefentative of the people, annually elected. 
The clergy became generally humble fervants of 
the king, and the deputies of cities were often 
corrupted ; fo that the conteft was chiefly between 
the crown and the nobles. In progrefs of time, 
by gaining over more and more the prelates and 
.deputies of the cities to the intereft of the crown, 
it became an over match for the nobility, and made 
itfelf abfolute. This example, therefore, is as ill- 
chofen as all the others, and inftead of fupporting 
our author's argument, is decifive againft it. 

France is the next example, where, " as long 
" as the people's intereft bore fway in their fu- 
" preme aflemblies, they could call their lives 
" and fortunes their own, and no longer : for all 
" that have fucceeded fince Louis the Eleventh, 
" followed his levelling pattern fo far, that in a 
<c (hort time they deftroyed the people's property, 
" and became the greateft levellers in Chriften- 

<P V " dom." 

Commonwealth, examined. 395 

c< dom." It would take up too much time to 
give in this place a fketch of the hiftory of France, 
to ibow in detail how inapplicable this example is 
to the purpofe of our author. Thofe who have 
leifure and curiofity, may confult Boulainvifliers, 
the Abbe de Mably, and Monfieur Moreau ; and 
many mod beautiful reflections may be found in 
Lord Bolingbroke's DilTertation on parties. Let- 
ters xiii. xiv. xv. xvi. It is fufficient here to fay, 
that the dates-general were compofed of nobles, 
clergy, and a third edate, all meeting in one aiTem- 
bly ; that the third eftate confided -of reprefenta- 
tives of cities not chofen by the people, but ap- 
pointed at lead by the aridocratical regencies ; that 
in fome places the mayor, in others fome particular 
family, held it as an hereditary right : but nothing 
can be conceived more unlike our author's idea of 
the people's fucceffive fovereign aflemblies than 
thefe dates-general. The conditution in thofe 
times was an unfkilful attempt to reconcile an ill- 
compounded aridocracy with firnple monarchy ; 
but the. dates-general conducted like all other 
fmgle afiemblies, till they were laid afide. 

England comes next, where, " as long as the 
* c people's intered was preferved by frequent and 
" fucceflive parliaments, fo long we were in fome 
" meafure fecure of our properties ; but as the 
" kings began to worm the people out of their 
" mare in government, by diicontinuing of par- 
" liaments, fo they carried on their levelling de- 
" figns to the dedroying of our properties ; and 
" the oracles of law and gofpel at lad fpoke it 
" out with a good levelling grace, ' that all was 
" the king's, and that we had nothing we might 
" call our own.'" 

There is at- lead wit and burlefque humour in 
thus afcribing levellifm to monarchy 5 and while it 


396 The right Conftitution of a 

is confidered only as rodomontade, there is no 
objection to it. Nor is there any thing to fay 
againft confounding levelliim with infecurity of 
property ; for though the ideas are diftinct, the 
things muft always exift together. From monar- 
chy he proceeds to other ftanding powers which 
have all produced errant levellers. " In Athens, 
" as long as the people kept free, indeed, in an 
" enjoyment of their fucceflive aflemblies, fo long 
<c they were fecure in their properties." But 
Athens never was free, according to our author's 
plan of fucceflive aflemblies. Athens never had 
aflemblies of reprefentatives. The collective af- 
femblies of the people were made fovereigns, in all 
cafes whatfoever, by Solon : but they never prac- 
tifed it till Ariftides began, and Pericles compleat- 
ed. the plan ; and as foon as it exifted, it began to- 
render property, liberty, and life, infecure. Yet the 
ordinary adminiftration was never conducted in 
thefe aflemblies ; the fenate and the Areopagus, 
and the ten other courts, conducted them : yet 
with all thefe checks, afk Demofthenes and Pho- 
cion, and Militiades and Ariftides, how the fove- 
reign people behaved. " After kings were laid 
* c afide, they erected another form of ftanding 
tc power in a fmgle perfon, called a governor 
" (archon), for life, who was accountable for mif- 
" demeanors : and yet a trial being made of nine 
" of them, the people faw fo little fecurity by 
" them, that they pitched upon another ftanding 
" form of decimal government ; and being op- 
" prefled by them too, they were caihiered. The 
" like miferies they tafted under the ftanding 
" power of thirty, which were a fort of levellers 
c< more rank than all the reft, who put to death, 
cc banifhed, pill'd, and poll'd whom they pleafed, 
" without caufe or exception ; fo that the poor 

" people, 

t o ."-.: ,-ir 

Ctimmonivealthy examined. 397 

"people, having been tormented under all the 
* c forms of danding power, were in the end forced, 
" as their lad remedy, to take fancluary, under the 
" form of a free date, in their fucceflive aflem- 
<c blies." It is droll enough thus to turn the drain 
of popular banter upon the royalids, by charging 
kings, perpetual archons, annual archons, the ten 
archons, the thirty tyrants, &c. as levellers. It was 
the levelling fpirit of the nobles, to be fure, that 
abolifhed kings and fmgle archons, and fet up 
ten : but the poor people had no hand .in it but 
as paflive indruments. As to the people's taking 
fancluary under the form of a free date, in their 
fucceflive aflemblies, they never did it : they ne 
ver let up any fuch government. They did aflume 
the fovereignty, it is true ; but Pericles led them 
to it, only that he might govern them, and he, and 
fucceflive, unprincipled wretches after him, did 
govern till the commonwealth was ruined. But 
there was as much levelling at lead, indeed much 
more, under Themidocles, Pericles, and Alcibia- 
des, as under kings or archons. 

Our author's confcience was always uppermofh 
He always betrays fomething which mews that he 
knew very well what the truth was. He judges 
very rightly here : " And though it may be ob- 
" jec~led," lays he,- " that afterwards they fell into 
" many divifions and miferies, even in that form, 
" yet whoever obferves the dory mail find it was 
4C not the fault of the government, but of them- 
" felves, in fwerving from the rules of a free date, 
" by permitting the continuance of power in par- 
" ticular hands ; who having an opportunity there- 
6 * by to create parties of their own among the 
* c people, did for their own ends inveigle, engage, 
" and entangle them in popular tumults and di- 
ic vifions. This was the true reafon of their mif- 

" carriages ; 

398 Tht right Conflitution of a 

** carriages ; and, if ever any government of the 
'* people did mifcarry, it was upon that account." 
It is plain from this' paflage, that our author was 
well read, and judged very well upon thefe fub- 
je&s. He knew how it was ; but he has not can- 
didly told us what he knew. That they fell into 
divisions and miferies he owns ; but denies that it 
was the fault of the government it was the fault 
of themfelves. Is it not the fault of themfelves 
under all governments, defpotifms, monarchies, 
ariilocracies, oligarchies, as well as democracries ? 
Was it not the fault of themfelves under their 
kings, their perpetual archons, their archons for 
life, their ten archons, as well as under the Pifif- 
tratidse, that they were tormented with divifions 
and miferies ? The law of nature would be fuffi- 
cient for the government of men, if they would 
confuk their reafon, and obey their consciences. 
It is not the fault of the law of nature, but of them- 
felves, that it is not obeyed ; it is not the fault of 
the law of nature that men are obliged to have re- 
courle to civil government at all, but of therafelves, 
it is not the fault of the ten commandments, but 
of themfelves, that Jews or Chriftians are ever 
known to (leal, murder, covet, or blafpheme : but 
the legiilator who (hould fay, the law of nature is 
enough, if you don't obey it, it will be your own 
fault, therefore no other government is necef- 
fary, would be thought to trifle. We certainly 
know, from the known conflitution of the human 
mind and heart, and from uniform experience, that 
the law of nature, the decalogue, and all the civil 
laws, will be violated, if men's paffions are not 
reftrained ; and therefore to prefumethat an un- 
mixed democratical government will preferve the 
laws, is as mad as to prefume that a king or fenate 
will do it. If a king or fenate don't obferve the 


Commonwealth, examined. 399 

laws, we may fay it is not the fault of the govern- 
ment, but of themfelves. What then ? We know 
that themfelves will commit the fault, and fo will 
a fimple democracy, and therefore it is in all thefe 
cafes the fault of the government as well as of 
themfelves. The government mould be fo con-* 
flituted, that themfelves cannot commit the fault. 
Swerving from rules is no more the fault of (land- 
ing kings and fenates, than it is of (landing or fuc- 
ceffive popular aflemblies. Of the. three, the laft 
have the (Irongeft difpofition to fwerve, and always 
do fwerve the fooneft when unbalanced. But the 
fault of permitting the continuance of power in 
particular hands, is incurable in the people, when 
they have the power. The people think you a 
fool, when you advife them to rejecl: the man you 
acknowledge to be the ablefl, wifeft, and bed, and 
whom you and they know they love bed, and ap- 
point another, who is but fecond in their confi- 
dence. They ever did, and ever will continue 
him, nay, and augment his power ; for their love of 
him, like all their other paflions, never (lands ftill; 
it conflantly grows, until it exceeds all bounds. 
Thefe continual *re-ele6lions, this continuance of 
power in particular men," gives them an oppor- 
" tunity to create parties of their own among the 
" people, and for their own ends to inveigle, en- 
" gage, and entangle them in popular tumults and 
<c divifions." Let me now a(k Marchamont Ned- 
ham, or any advocate for his fyftem, Do you be- 
lieve that the people, unbalanced, ever will avoid 
to confer a continuance of power on their favou- 
rites ? Do you believe they ever did in any age or 
country ? The anfwer mud be in the negative. 
Do you believe it poflible, from the conftitution of 
human nature, that they ever will, any more than 
that they will univerfally obey the law of nature 


The right Conjlitution of a 

and the ten commandments? The anfwer muft 
be in the negative. Why then is the world any 
longer amufed with a Speculative phantom, that all 
enlightened men knew never did, and never can, 
exift? My hand is impatient of the pen, and longs 
to throw it down, while I am labouring through a 
feries of popular fophifms, which difgraces a work 
which abounds with fenfe and learning, with ex- 
cellent principles, maxims, and rules of govern- 
ment, miferably perverted to anfwer a prefent pur- 
pofe, to run down one party, and fupport another : 
but as this book is known in America, and ought 
to be perufed by Englifhmen, in whatever part of 
the globe, as a valuable monument of the early 
period in which the true principles of liberty be- 
gan to be adopted and avowed in the nation, I 

fhall purfue the fubjecl; to the end. Lacedjemon 

is next introduced as an inftance of levellifm. 
After they had tried the government of one 
king, then of two, afterwards came in the Epho- 
ri, as fupervifors of their kings. After they had 
tried themfelves through all the forms of a (land- 
ing power, and found all to be levellers of 
the people's intereft arid property , then necefTity 
" taught them to feek fhelter in afreejlate^ under 
" which they lived happily > till, by the error of the 
" Athenians, they were drawn into parties by pow- 
" erful perfons, and fo made the inftruments of 
" divifion among themfelves, for the bringing of 
" new levellers into play, fuch as Manchanidas 
" and Nabis." The Ephori were fupervifors of 
the fenate, rather than of kings. They fwore both 
for themfelves and the people, to fupport the kings 
for ever againft the enterprizes of the fenate. But 
when did the Lacedemonians take fhelter in a free 
ftate ? Never, according to our author's definition 
of a free (lace, until the Ephori murdered the king, 


Commonwealth, examined. 401 

inftead of fupporting him according to their oath, 
and until the people fet up Manchanides and No- 
bis. And it is always thus : the firft thing a 
people, broke loofe from all reftraints of their pow- 
er, do, is to look out for a chief, whom they in- 
ftantly make a defpot in fubftance, and very foon in 
form. The government of Sparta was as different 
from a free ftate, during the fix or feven centuries 
that Lycurgus's inftitution lafted, as the Englilh 
conftitution is, and much more : the people had 
not half the weight in it. Standing powers, both 
of king andfenate, flood like Mount Atlas while 
the republic exifted, and when the free ftate fuc- 
ceeded, it was the tyranny of Manchanides and 
Nobis, not better than that of Nero. It is droll 
enough to call the Spartans levellers, to be fure ; 
they who fupported an haughty ariftocracy at 
home, and in every other city of Greece where 
they could negociate. When the inftitution of 
Lycurgus was worn ; out, and the people began to 
gain in power, they ufed it as the Athenians and 
all others have done when unbalanced ; they fet 
up idols, continued and increafed their power,werc 
drawn into parties and divifions, and made them- 
felves inftruments of divifion, until defpotifm be- 
came inevitable. 

Rome in her turn comes round. " After the 
" ftanding form of kings was extinct, and a new 
<c " one eftablifhed, the people found as little fafety 
"and property as ever." Here the faft is truly 
ftated, and the exprefiions are very juft, " for 
" the ftanding fenate and the decemviri proved 
" as great levellers as kings." It is buriefque 
again to call the fenate and decemviri levellers : 
they were the very antithesis. But if by levellers 
he means arbitrary men, it is very true. " So that 
" they were forced to fettle the government of the 

VOL.. III. 3 F " people 

402 "The right Conftitution of a 

" people by a due and orderly fucceflion of their 
" fupreme alTemblies." I wonder when. To 
quote Athens, 'Sparta, and Rome, as examples of 
a government of one fovereign reprefentative af- 
fembly, is dimoneft : nothing can be further from 
the purpofe. The (landing power of the fenate 
exifted from Romulus to Casfar, as our author very 
well knew, and the people never obtained even an 
effectual check, fo far from fettling the govern- 
ment of the people by a due and orderly fucceflion 
of their fupreme aflemblies. If they ever reco- 
<c vered their property, in having fomewhat they 
" might call their own," they owed the blefling 
to the ferjate's wifdom and equity, for the people 
were fo far from being fovereign in their fucceflive 
aflemblies, that they had not an equal fhare of 
power with the fenate, allowing for all the aflift> 
ance they derived from the tribunes. But as foon 
as they began to arrogate a fuperior power, or even 
an equal fhare, they began to run into " the error 
" of Lacedemonians, Athenians/' and all other 
people that ever lived, " fwerving from the rules 
" of a free date," or, in other words, trampling on 
the laws, " lengthening of powers in particular 
" hands/ 5 " drawn and divided into parties," 
" to ferve the Tufts of fuch powerful men as by 
" craft became'their leaders ; fo that by this means, 
" through their own default, they were deprived 
" of their liberty long before the days of imperial 
" tyranny. Thus Cinna, Syila, Marius, and the 
ct reft of that fueceeding gang, down to Caefar, 
" ufed the people's favour to obtain a continuation 
" of power in their own hands ; and then having 
" faddled the people with a new (landing form ;of 
" their own, they immediately rooted up the peo- 
u pie's liberty and property by arbitrary fentences 
" of death, profcriptions, fines, and confiscations ; 

" which 

Commonwealth, examined. 403 

** which ftrain of levelling (more intolerable than 
" the former) was maintained by the fame arts of 
* e devilifh policy down to Casfar, who ftriking in 
u a favourite of the people, and making ufe of 
* c their affections to lengthen power in his own 
" hands, at length, by this error of the people, 
" gained opportunity to introduce a new levelling 
" form of (landing power in himfelf, to an utter 
" and irrecoverable ruin'of the Roman liberty and 
<c property." Thus it is that our author accumu- 
lates examples from hiftory, which are demon ftra- 
tions againft his own fyftem, and in favour of the 
Englifh and American conftitutions. A good En- 
glifhman, or a good American, with the mod di- 
ligent fearch, could not find fafts more precifely in 
vindication of thofe balances to the power of the 
people, a fenate, and an executive firfl magiftrate; 
Nothing elfe can ever prevent the people from run- 
jiing into the fame error, and departing from 
the rules of a free ftate, and even the fundamerr- 
tal laws. 

Florence is again introduced to the fame pur- 
pofe, and with the fame fuccefs ; fo is Pifa ; fc* 
is Mantua, and its fons Pafferimo and Gonzaga, 
You have already feen enough of thefe Italian re- 
publics to convince you that every page in their 
hiftory is againft our author's fyftem. His con- 
clulion is exactly the reverfe of what it mould 
be. It fhould be, that a commonx^alth, by the 
people in their fucceffive affemblies, hath never, 
in any age, been .a prefervation of liberty or pro- 
perty, or any remedy againft ufurpations of ftand- 
ing powers, but had, in '.all ages, been, in his own 
fenfe, levellers of all things to the will of a ftand- 
ing defpot. 

: .-. .-., ^j-:-* 


4o4 The right Conftltutkn of a 

The next chapter is intitled, " The Original of 
e< all juft Power is in the People. v This book is 
valuable, as it is fo ancient a monument of liberty 
and political knowledge in England. Many of 
its principles were at that time extremely rare in 
the world, excepting in England : they have been 
fince enlarged on, with great fuccefs, by Sidney, 
Locke, Hoadly, Montefquieu, Roffeau, Raynall, 
de Mably, Price, Prieftle'y, Beccaria, and many 
others of various nations, and are now becoming 
univerfal. It is unneceffary to abridge this chap- 
ter ; becaufe, although it contains the hints on 
which fucceeding writers have enlarged, their dif- 
courfes are more ample and more fatisfaftory. 

"The firft error in^ ancient Chriftian policy, 
<c which hath indeed been a main foundation of 
" tyranny, is that corrupt divifion of a ftate into 
" ecclefiaftical and civil." Our author enlarges 
upon this error, and his fpeculations are worth 
reading ; but as this is not likely to be the error 
of America, I fhall leave this to be read when 
fuch danger approaches. 

" The fecond error is very frequent under all 
<l forms of government. It is this; that care hath 
" not been taken, upon all occafions of alteration, 
" to prevent the paffage of tyranny out of one form 
* c into anothe/,in all the nations of the world. The 
" intereft of abfolute monarchy, and its inconve- 
" niences, have been vifible and fatal under the 
" other forms, and given undeniable proof of this 
" maxim by experience, in all times, that the in- 
" terejl of monarchy may rejide in the hands of many 
* as well as of a Jingle perfon." The intereft of, 
abfolute monarchy he defines to be, " an unli- 
** mited, uncontroulable, unaccountable ftation of 

" power 

Commonwealth^ examined. 405 

** power and authority in the hands of a particular 
" perfon, who governs only according to the dic- 
" tates of his own will and pleafure ; and though 
" it hath often been difguifed by fophifters in po- 
" licy, fo as it hath loft its own name by fhifting 
<c forms, yet the thing itfelf has been difcovered 
cc under the artificial covers of every form, in the 
" various revolutions of government. In Athens, 
" when they had laid afide their king, the kingly 
" power was retained ftill in all the after-turns of 
" government ; for their decimal governors, and 
" their thirty tyrants, were but a multiplied rno- 
** narchy, the people being in a worfe condition 
cc than before ; for their kings had fupervifors, 
" and fenatic aflemblies, that did reftrain and cor- 
" reel them ; but the governors having none, ran 
" into all the heats, and fits, and wild extrava- 
" gances, of an unbounded prerogative. Necef- 
" fity and extremity opening the people's eyes, 
" they at length faw all the inconveniences of 
" kingfhip wrapt up in new forms, and rather in- 
" creafed than diminifhed ; fo that, as the only 
44 remedy, they diflodged the power out of thofe 
" hands, putting it into their own, and placing 
" it in a conftant orderly revolution of perfons 
<c elective by the community. And now, one 
" would have thought there no fhelter for a 
" monarchal intereft, under a popular form too : 
" but alas ! They found the contrary ; for the 
<c people not keeping a Jirift watch over tbemf elves, 
" according to the rules of a free ft ate, but being 
" won by fpecious pretences , and deluded by created 
" necejjities^ . to intruft the management of affairs 
" into fome particular hands, fuch an occafion was 
<c given thereby to thofe men to frame parties of 
* c their own, that by this means they in a fhort 
* v time became able to do what they' lift without 


406 The right Conjlitution of a 

^ the people's confent ; and, in the end, not only 
i difeontinued, but utterly extirpated, their fuc- 
" ceffiv affemblies." I have given this at length 
in our author's own words, becaufe it is an exact 
compendium of the whole hiflory of Athens, and 
fliews that he had read it attentively, and under- 
ilood it perfectly well ; and becaufe it is a com- 
plete refutation of his own fyftem, his Right Con- 
*fHtution of a Commonwealth. Abfolute mo- 
narchy, unlimited power, in a particular perfon, 
who governed by his own will, run through all 
the hiflory and changes in Athens, according to 
his own account, even when the people had placed 
the fupreme power in an orderly revolution of 
perfons elective by themfelves. Why ? " Becaufe 
44 the people did not keep a watch over them- 
" felves." Did any other people keep a drift watch 
over themfelves ? Will any people ever keep a ftrict 
watch over themfelves. No, furely. Is not this, 
then, a fufficient reafon for inftituting a fenate to- 
keep a ftrict watch over them ? Is not this a fuf- 
ficient reafon for feparating the whole executive- 
power from them, which they know will and 
muft corrupt them, throw them off their guard, 
and render it impofftble to keep a ftricl: watch 
over themfelves ? " They did not obferve the rules 
" of a free ftate." Did any people, that ever at- 
tempted to exercife unlimited power, obferve the 
rules of a free ftate ? Is it poflible they fhould, 
any more than obey, without fin, the law of na- 
ture and nature's God ? When we find one of thefe 
forts of obedience, we may expect the other. If 
this writer had been one of theenthufiafts of that 
day, and told the people they muft pray to God 
for his omnipotent grace to be poured out upon 
them, diftinguifh them from all the reft of man- 
kind as his favourite people, more even than the 


Commonwealth, examined. 407 

Jews were, that they might be enabled to obferve 
the rules of a free ftate, though all hi ft cry and 
experience, even that of the Hebrews themfelves, 
and the conflitution of human nature, proved it 
impoffible without a miracle ; or if he had told 
them that they were a chofen people, different 
from all other men, numbers would have believed 
him, and been difappointed : for it is impious 
prefumption to fuppofe that Providence will thus 
diftinguilh any nation ; but it would have been 
more fenfible than thus to acknowledge in effect, 
as he does repeatedly, the impracticability of hi* 
fcheme, and. (till infift upon it. " The people 
" were won by fpecious pretences, and deluded 
<c by created neceffities, to intruft the manage- 
" ment of affairs into fome particular hands." 
And will not the people always be won by fpe- 
cious pretences, when they are unchecked ? Is any 
people more fagacious or fenfible than the Athe- 
nians, thefe ten thoufand citizens, who had four 
hundred thoufand flaves to maintain them at lei- 
fure to ftudy ? Will not a few capital characters 
in a fingle affembly always have the power to ex- 
cite a war, and. thus create a neceflity of com- 
manders ? Has not a general a party of courfe ? 
Are not all his officers and men at his devotion, fo 
long as to acquire habits of it ? When a general 
faves a nation from deftrudtion, as the people 
think, and brings home triumph, peace, glory, 
and profperity to his country, is there not an af- 
feftion, veneration, gratitude, admiration, and 
adoration of him, that no people can refift ? It is 
want of patriotifm not to adore him it is enmity 
to liberty it is treafon. His judgment, which is 
his will, becomes the only law ; reafon will allay 
a hurricane as foon; and if the executive and ju- 
dicial power are in the people, they at once give 


40 8 The right Conftltutlon of a 

him both, in fubftance at firft, and not long after-* 
wards in form. The reprefentatives lofe all au- 
thority before him : if they difoblige him, they 
are left out by their conftitue ts at the next elec- 
tion, and one of his idolaters is chofen. 
, " In Rome, alfo, the cafe was the fame, under 
" every alteration; and all occafioned by the 
" crafty contrivances of grandizing parties, -and 
*t tjie people's own frailty and negligence in fuf- 
" fering themfelves to be deluded : for with the 
" Tar quins (as it is obferved by Livy and others) 
" only the name king was expelled, but not the 
" thing; the power andintereftof kingfhip was ftill 
" retained in the fenate, and engrofled by the con- 
" fuls : for befides the rape of, Lucretia, among 
"the other faults objected againft Tarquin, this 
*' was moft confiderable, that he had acted all 
"things after his own head, and difcontinued 
" confutations with the fenate, which was the 
" very height of arbitrary power ; but yet as foort 
"as the fenate was in the faddle, they forgot what 
" was charged by themfelves upon Tarquin, and 
" ran into the fame error, by eftabliming an arbi- 
" trary, hereditary,unaccountable power in them* 
" felves and their pofterity, not admitting the 
" people (whofe intereft and liberty they had 
" pleaded) into any (hare in confultation or go- 
" vernment, as they ought to have done, by a 
" prefent erecting of their fucceffive affemblies : 
" fo that you fee the fame kingly intereft, which 
" was in one before, refided then in the hands of 
" many. Nor is it my obfervation only, but 
" pointed out by Livy, in his fecond book, and in 
" many other places, ' Cum a patribus, non con- 
" fules fed carnifkes,&c.' when the fenators ftrove 
" to create, not confuls, but executioners and tor- 
". mentors, to vex and tear the people, &c. And 

" in 

Commonwealth^ examined. 409 

u in another place of the fame book, c Confutes, 
"immoderata, infinitaque poteftate, omnes metus 
" legum, &c/ the confuls, having an immode- 
" rate and unlimited power, turned the terror of 
" laws and punifhments only upon the people 
" themfelves, (in the mean while) being account- 
" able to none but themfelves, and their confe- 
" derates in the fenate. Then the confular go- 
cc vernment being cafhiered, came on the decem- 
" viri : c Cum confulari imperio ac regio, fine 
" provocatione,* faith my author ; being inverted 
" with a confular and kingly power, without ap- 
" peal to any other. And in his third book he 
" faith, c Decem regum fpecies erat,' it was a 
" form of ten kings ; the mifesies of the people 
" being increafed ten times more than they were 
" under kings and confuls. For remedy, there- 
" fore, the ten were cafhiered alfo ; and confuls be- 
" ing reftored, it was thought fit, for the bridling 
a of their power, to revive alfo the didatorfhip, 
u which was a temporary kingfhip, ufed only now 
" and then upon occafion of neceility ; and alfo 
" thofe deputies of the people, called tribunes, 
<c which one would have thought had been fuf- 
" ficient bars againft monarchic intereft, efpecially 
" being aflifted by the people's fucceffive aflem- 
<c blies : but yet, for all this, the people were 
* c cheated through their own neglect, and beftow- 
** ing too much confidence and truft upon fuch as 
" they thought their friends ; for when they 
" fwerved from the rules of a free ftate, by length- 
" ening the diclatorfhip in any hand, then mo- 
" narchic intereft ftept in there as it did under 
" Sylla, Casfar, and others, long before it return- 
<c ed to a declared rnonarchiai form ; and when 
" they lengthened commands in their armies, then 
" it crept in there, as it did under the afore-named 
VOL. III. 3G perfons, 

4i.o The right Conjlitttt'ton of a 

" perfons, as well as Marius, Cinna, and others 
u alfo, and even Pornpey himfelf ; not forgetting 
<c the pranks of the two triumvirates, who all 
** made a fhift under every form, being fometimes 
" called confuls, fometimes di'&ators, and fome- 
<c times tribunes of the people, to outaft all the 
" flagitious enormities of an abfolute monarchy." 
This valuable paflage, fo remarkable as an 
abridgment of the Roman hiftory, as containing 
the elfence of the whole that relates to the con- 
flitution, as a profound judgment of what paries 
in all focieties, has been tranfcribed in the au- 
thor's own words ; and, it may be truly faid, it 
contains a full confutation of his own fyftem, and 
a complete proof* of the neceffity of the compo- 
fition of three branches. It is ftridly true, that 
there is a ftrong and continual effort in every fo- 
ciety of men, ariiing from the conftitution of 
their minds towards a kingly power ; it is as true 
in a fimple damocracy, or a democracy by repre- 
fentation, as it is in fimple ariftocracy, ogligarchy, 
or monarchy, and in all poflible combinations and 
mixtures of them. This tendency can neve? be 
eradicated ; it can only be watched and controuled : 
and the whole art of government confifts in com- 
bining the powers of fociety in fuch a manner, 
that it fhall not prevail over the laws. The ex- 
.cellence of the Spartan and Roman conftitutions 
lay in this ; that they were mixtures which did re- 
ftrain it, in fome meafure, for a long period, but 
never perfectly. Why? Becaufe the mixture was 
not equal. The balance of three branches is alone 
adequate to this end ; and one great reafon is, be- 
eaufe f it gives way to human nature fo far, as to 
determine who is the firft man. Such is the con- 
ftitution of men's minds, that this queftion, if 
undecided, will for ever diforder the ftate. It is 

a queftion 

Commonwealth , examine^. 

a quedion that mufl be decided* whatever blood 
or wounds it may occafion, in every fpecies of gre- 
garious animals as well as men. This point, in 
the triple divifion of power, is always determined ; 
and this alone is a powerful argument in favour of 
fuch a form. Our author's Right Conftitution is 
the word of all .poflible forms in this refpect ; 
there are more pretenders ; the choice of means 
is multiplied ; the worft men have too much in- 
fluence in the decifion, more, indeed, than the 
bed ; and the whole executive and judicial pow- 
ers, and the public treafure too, will be prodi- 
tuted to the decifion of this ppint. In the (late 
of nature, when favage brutal man ranged the fo- 
reds with all his fellow-creatures, this mighty 
conteft was decided with nails and teeth, fids, 
(tones, and clubs, in fingle combats, between all 
that dared to pretend. Amidd all the refinements 
of humanity, and all the improvements of civil 
life, the fame nature remains, and war, with more 
ferious and dreadful preparations* and rencounters 
of greater numbers, mud prevail, until the decifion 
takes place. " The people" fays our author, 
<c Were cheated through their own neglecl, and 
" bedowing too much confidence and tjud upon 
" fuch as they thought their friends." And could 
he quote an indance from all hidory 0f a people 
who have not been cheated ; who have not been 
negligent ; who have not bedowed too much con- 
fidence and truft upon fuch as they thought their 
friends ; who have not fwerved from the rules of 
a free date, by lengthening power in hands that 
hold it ? Can he give a plaufible reafon to hope 
that fuch a people will ever appear ? On the con- 
trary, is it not demondrable that fuch a people is 
impoflible, without a miracle and a renovation of 
the fpecies. Why, then, ihould the people be 


412 Tie right Conftitution of a 

bribed to betray themfelves ? Putting the exe- 
cutive power into their hands is bribing them to 
their own deftruftion ; putting it into the hands 
of their reprefentatives is the fame thing, with 
this difference for the worfe, that it gives more 
opportunity to conceal the knavery : giving the 
executive power to the fenate is nearly the fame, 
for it will be in that cafe ufed in bribes, to elevate 
certain fenatorial families. All projects of go- 
vernment, formed upon a fuppofition of continual 
vigilance, fagacity, virtue, and firmnefs of the 
people, when poffeffed of the exercife of fupreme 
power, are cheats and delufions. The people are 
the fountain of power ; they mud, in their con- 
ftitution appoint different orders to watch one 
another, and give them the alarm in time of dan- 
ger. When a firft magifirate, poffeffed of the 
executive, can appeal to the people in time of 
danger ; when a fenate can appeal to the people ; 
and when a houfe of commons can appeal to the 
people ; when it is the intereft of each, in its 
turn, to appeal to the people ; when felf-prefer- 
vation caufes fuch appeal ; then, and then only, 
can the people hope to be warned of every dan- 
ger, and be put conftantly on their guard, kept 
conftantly vigilant, penetrating, virtuous, and 
fteady : when their attention, too, is fixed only 
upon the prefervation of the laws, and they can- 
not be diverted, like apes, by throwing the nuts 
of the executive power among them, to divide 
them. When they have any thing to do with the 
executive power, they think of nothing elfe but 
fcrambling for offices, and neglect altogether the 
Jegiflature and the laws, which are their proper 
department. All the flagitious enormities of ab- 
folute monarchy will be pra&ifed by the demo- 


Commonwealth, examined. 4 1 3 

cratical defpot, triumvirs, decemvirs, who get pof- 
feflion of the confidence of the majority. 

Florence teftifies the fame truth : " Even when 
" it feemed mod free, it was ever the bufmefs of 
" one upflart or other, either in the fenare or 
cc among the people, to make way to their own 
cc ambitious ends, and hoift themfelves into a 
" kingly pofture through the people's favour ; as 
" Savanarola, Soderino, and the Medici, whofe 
" family fixed itfelf in a dukedom. Nor c:-m it 
<c be forgotten how much of monarchy of late 
66 crept into the United Provinces." 

The conclufion is, that " fmce the intereft of 
" monarchy" (that is, arbitrary power, or the 
government of men) * ' may refide in a cofiful as 
" well as in a king ; in a dictator as well as in a 
" conful ; in the hands of many as well as of a 
<c fingle perfon ; and that its cuftom hath been to 
* c lurk under every form, in the various turns of 
" government ; it concerns every people, in a ftate 
" of freedom, to keep clofe to the rules of a free 
" ftate for the turning out of monarchy, whether 
<c limple or compound, both name and thing, in 
" one or many ; fo they ought ever to have a re- 
" njerend and noble refpeft of fuch founders of free 
" dates and commonwealths, as (hall block up 
" the way againfl monarchic tyranny, by declar- 
" ing for the liberty df the people, as it confifts 
" in a due and orderly fucceffion of authority in 
" their fupreme aflemblies;" that is, for himielf, 
Oliver Cromwell, and their party, for no other 
fuch founders of commonwealths had then ever 
exifted. The true conclufion from all the reafon- 
ing, and all the examples, under this fecond head 
of Error in Policy, ought to have been, that ar- 
bitrary power, or the intereft of monarchy, or the 
government of men, cannot be prevented, nor 


414 The right Conflltutlon of a 

the government of laws fupported, but by mixing 
the powers of the one, the few, and the many, in 
equal proportions in the legiflature j by feparat- 
ing the executive from the legiflative power, and 
the judical department from both. 

The third error in policy is," keeping the peo- 
" pie ignorant of thofe ways and means that are 
<c eflentially neceflary for the perfervation of their 
** liberty; for implicit faith and blind obedience 
" hath hitherto pafled current, and been equally 
" preffed and prattifed by grandee?, both fpi- 
* c ritual and temporal, upon the people." Under 
this head our author merits all the approbation 
and praife that can be beftowed upon him. The 
inftruction of the people, in every kind of know- 
ledge rhat can be of ufe to them in the practice 
of their moral duties, as men, citizens, and Chrif- 
tians, and of their political and civil duties, as 
members of fociety and freemen, ought to be the 
care of the public, and of all who have any mare 
in the conduct of its affairs, in a manner that 
never yet has been practifed in any age or nation. 
The education here intended is not merely that of 
the children of the rich and noble, but of every 
rank and clafs of people, down to the loweft and 
the pooreft. It is not too much to fay, that 
fchools for the education of all mould be placed 
at convenient diftances, and maintained at the 
public expence. The revenues of the (late would 
be applied infinitely better, more charitably, wife- 
ly, ufefully, and therefore politically, in this way, 
than even in maintaining the poor. This would 
be the bed way of preventing the exiftence of the 
poor. If nations mould ever be wife, inftead of 
creeling thoufands of ufelcfs offices, or engaging 
in unmeaning wars, they will make a fundament- 

* al 

Commonwealth, examined. 415 

tal maxim of this, that no human being {hall 
grow up in ignorance. In proportion as this is 
done, tyranny will difappear, kings and nobles 
will be made to feel their equitable equality with 
commoners, and commoners will fee their intereft 
and duty to refpecl: the guardians of the laws ; for 
guardians they muft have as long as human na- 
ture endures. There is no room to doubt that 
the fchools, academies, and univerfities, the 
ftage, the prefs, the bar, pulpit, and parliament, 
might all be improved to better purpofe than 
they have been in any country for this great pur* 
pofe. The emanations of error, folly, and vice, 
which proceed from all thefe fources, might be 
leflened, and thofe of wifdom, virtue, and truth, 
might be increafed ; more of decency and dignity 
might be added to the human character in high 
and low life ; manners would affift the laws, and 
the laws reform manners : and impoflure, fuper- 
flition, knavery, and tyranny, be made afhamed to 
mow their heads before the wifdom and integrity, 
decency and delicacy, of a venerable public opi- 
nion. But it is in vain that our author endeavours 
to throw the blame of impreffing implicit faith and 
blind obedience upon grandees fpiritual and tem- 
poral ; for the grandees he contends for, both 
fpiritual and temporal, I mean the firft man and 
other principal members of his fucceflive repre- 
fentative aflemblies,will have as much occafion to 
keep the people in ignorance, and more opportu- 
nity to conceal truth and propagate falfehood, 
than thofe whom he calls (landing powers. All 
intelligence and information will be directed to 
them ; they may conceal what they will, and 
they will conceal every thing they can from their 
adverfaries the minority, and even much from their 
own followers. It is a mixed government alone 


The right Conftltutlon of a 

* ' t ' '~ ' fl*. r*3 V* : ' 

that can bear that truth and knowledge fhould be 
communicated freely to the people ; and in a mix- 
ed government alone can the people compel all men 
'to communicate fuch information as ought to be 
laid before them. The majority in a fingle 
aflfembly can conceal much from the minority, 
indeed almoil what they will ; but the crown, nor 
its miniflers, can conceal any thing from an houfe 
of reprefentatives which they ought to know. 

It is very true, that a people who have declared 
themfelves '* a free ftate, mould know what free- 
" dom is, and have it reprefented in all its lively 
" and lovely features, that they may grow zealous 
" and. jealous over it. They mould alfo be 
?' .'made acquainted, and thoroughly inftrufted in 
" the means and rules of its prefervation againft 
" the adulterous wiles and rapes of any projecting 
" fophifters that may arife." How different from 
this, alas ! is the deplorable (late of mankind ! 
" Ce n'eft, qu'n Angleterre, ou Ton pourroit faire 
" ni avoir des livres fur des conftitutions, " faid 
one of the mod enlightened ambafladors in Eu- 
rope : and it is but a very few years fince a French 
gentleman anfwered a foreigner, who enquired for 
the bed book upon the conftitution of France, 
" Monfieur, c'eft TAlmanach Royal/' 

" The fourth error in policy hath been the re- 
" gulation of affairs by reafons of (late, not by 
" the ftri&.rule of honefty." It is unnecerTary to 
follow our author through Greece and Italy, the 
Old Teftament and the New, through France, 
Spain, and England, for inftances of this raggione 
de flato, this kingcraft and prieft craft ; it is well 
enough known : but it may be pradifed with more 
facility in a fimpie democracy than in any other 


Commonwealth, examined. 417 

government. The leaders f a majority have only 
toalicdge " reafon of ftate" to juftify themfelves 
to their par tifans for every fpecies of tyranny and 
oppreflichi over the minority, until they become 
ftrong enough toalledge the fame " reafon of ftate >f 
to juftify their tyranny over their own party. 

44 Permitting of the legiflative and executive 
44 powers of a flate to reft in one and the fame 
44 hands and perfons.-^By the legiflative pow- 
44 er we underftand, the power of making, alter- 
44 ing, or repealing laws, which, in all well-order- 
" ed governments, hath ever been lodged in a fuc- 
44 ceilion of the fupreme councils or affemblics of 
44 a nation. By the executive power we mean 
44 that power which is derived from the other, and 
44 by their authority transferred into the hands of 
44 one perfon called a prince, or into the hands of 
44 many called ftates, for the adminiftration of 
44 government in the execution of thofe laws* 
44 In the keeping of thefe two powers dijtind^ 
44 flowing in diftintf channels, fo that they may 
44 never meet in one, fave upon fome fhort extraor* 
44 dinary occafion, conflfls the fafety of the ft ate* 
44 The reafon is evident,becaufe if thelaw*makersl 
44 (who ever have the fupreme power) mould be 
" alfo the conftant adminiftrators and difpenferS 
44 of law and juftice, then by confequencc the peo- 
44 pie would be left without remedy in cafe of in* 
44 juftice, fince no appeal can lie under heaven 
44 qgainft fuch as have the fupremacy ; which, if 
44 once admitted, were inconfiftent with the very 
44 inteut and natural import of true policy, which 
14 ever fuppofeth that' men in power may be un- 
44 righteous, and therefore, prefuming the worft, 
44 points always, in all determinations, at the enor- 
* 4 mities and remedies of government, on the be- 

VOL. III. 3 H " half 

The right Constitution of a 

44 half of the people. For the clearing of this, it 
44 is worthy,yourobfervation,that in all kingdoms 
44 and dates whatfoever, where they haye had any 
4 ' thing of freedom among them, the 'legiflative 
44 and executive powers have been managed in 
44 diftinft hands ; that is to lay, the law-makers 
44 have fet down laws as rules of government, and 
44 then put po-wer into the hands of others, not their 
44 own, to govern by thofe rules ; by which means 
44 the people were happy, having no governors but 
44 fuch as were liable to give an account of govern- 
44 ment to the fupreme council of law-makers. 
44 And on the other fide, it is no lefs worthy of a 
41 very ferious obfervat ion, that kings and {landing 
44 ftates never became abfolute over the people, 
44 till they brought both the making and execution j 
44 of laws into their own hands ; and as this ufur- 
44 pat ion of theirs took place by degrees, fo un- 
44 limited arbitrary power crept up into the throne, 
44 there to domineer over the world, and defy the 
44 liberties of the people." 

Let us paufe here with aftonifhment. A per- 
fon who had read the former part of the book with j 
attention, would think thefe words a complete re- 
futation of his whole " Right Conftitution of a 
44 Commonwealth." The wholedriftofthebook 
before this was to prove, that all authority fhould 
be collected into one centre; that the whole legif- 
latiVe and judicial power, as well as the executive, 
was to be vefted in fucceflive fupreme fovereign 
aflemblies of the people's representatives; and our 
endeavour has been to (how, that this would na- 
turally be applied to corruption in ele&ion, to 
promote divirion, faftion, (edition, -and rebellion. 
All this is now very frankly admitted, and " the 
44 fafety of the date" depends upon placing the 
power of making laws, of executing them, and ad- 


Commonwealth, examined. 4.19 

miniilering juftice, in different bands. But how is 
this to be done ? bt The executive power, our 
author tells us, " is derived from the legiflative ; 
" and by their authority transferred into the hand 
44 of one peribn called a prince, or into the hands 
" of many called ftates, for the adminiftration of 
" government in the execution of thofe laws. 1 ' 
This is totally denied. The executive power is 
not naturally, nor neceiTarlly, and ought never to 
be in fad, derived from the legiflative. The body 
of the people, according to our author and to 
truth, is the fountain and original of all power and 
authority, executive and judicial, as well as le* 
giflative ; and the executive ought to be appointed 
by the people, in the formation of their conftitu- 
tion, as much as the legiflative. The executive 
reprefents the majefty, perfons, wills, and power 
of the people in the adminiftration of govern- 
ment and difpenfing of laws, as the legiflative does 
in making, altering, and repealing them. The 
executive reprefents the people for one purpbfe,as 
much as the legiflative does for another; and the 
executive ought to be as diftinft and independent 
of the legiflative, as the legiflative is of that. 
There is no more truth, nature, or propriety, in 
faying that the executive is derived from the legif- 
lative, than that the legiflative isderivedfrom the 
executive: both are derived from the people. It 
is as untrue to fay that theexecutive power is tranf- 
ferredby the authority of the legiflative into the 
hands of a prince, as it would be to fay that the 
legiflative power was transferred by the authority 
of the prince/into the hands of a legiflative afTem- 
bly. The people may, indeed, by their conflitu- 
tion, appoint the houfe of reprefentatives, to re- 
prefent them in watching theexecutivemagiftrateSp 
and in accufing them of mifrnle and mifclemean^ 


ight Conftitution of & 

'.--.' ' 

ours : they may appoint a fenate to reprefent 
them, in hearing and determining upon thofe ac- 
cufations.-~-The people are reprefented by every 
power and body in the ftate, and in every aft they 
do. So the people are reprefented in courts of 
juftice by the judges and juries, grand and petit, 
in hearing and determining complaints againil 
minifters of the executive power, as well as mem- 
bers of the fenate and the houfe. It is true the 
body of the people have authority, if they pleafe, 
tq impower the legifjative aflembly or aflemblies 
to appoint the executive power, by appointing a 
prince, prefjdent, governor, podefta,dpge, or king, 
and to call him by which of thefe names they 
pleafe ; but it would be a fatal error in policy to 
do it, becaufe it would in fa6t amount to the fame 
thing which our author feemed to contend for 
through his whole book, and which he now allows 
to be inconfiftent with the fafety of the ftate, 
viz,, a union of the legislative and executive pow- 
ers in the fame hands. Whoever appoints bifhops 
^nd judges will diftatc law and goipel : whoever 
appoints a general will command the army, an ad- 
miral the fleet : any executor of the law will have 
it executed a,s he will. It makes the executive 
power a mere tool of the legiflative, and the prince 
a weathercock blown about by the leading mem* 
ber of the hpufe, Every commiflion will be cHf-- 
pofed of as the lord and matter in the houfe fhall 
rfired ; military difcipline will bow before .his 
nod ; and the judicial power mufl have the fame 
complaifance: fo that both executive and judicial 
powers will be proftituted to corrupt the people in 
elections, and the members, of the houfe, as much 
as if a.11 thefe powers were exercifed in the houfe, 
$ndall the legiflative, executive, and judicial pow- 
rs IQ th? fame tiands^ the ftate unfafe, the people 


Commonwealth, examined. 4.31 

left without remedy, in cafe of injuftlce, but by an 
appeal to heaven, by onr author's own confeffion, 
* 4 In all free flates, the legiflative and executive 
46 powers have been managed in diftinft hands," 
fays our author : " i, e. the law-makers have fet 
44 down rules, and then put power into the hands 
44 of others to govern by thofe rules." J wonder 
where. In Sparta the executive power was in the 
kings, hereditary kings, not appointed by the fe* 
nate, or either of the popular affemblies, that of 
the city, or that for the country ; in Athens the 
executive power was in the archons ; in Rome, 
firft in kings, and then in confuls, through all the 
period of the republic : but, what is worfe, fome 
important executive powers werereferved in the 
hands of the ienate in Sparta, in the popular af- 
femblies in Athens, in the fenate in Rome; that 
is, the executive and legiflative powers were fo far 
united, which finally produced the ruin of all of 
them. In fhort, our author is perfeftly right in 
his rule, that the two powers ought to be diftindr, 
and in the fatal effe&s of their union ; but totally 
wrong in deriving one from the other, and in his 
examples to {hew they ever werefo derived. But 
as the feparation and divifion of authority, for the 
prefervation of equity, equality, and liberty, in op* 
pofition to, the union of it fimply in one, the few, 
or the many, is the end, of all the pains we have 
taken upon this fubjeft, not a word of afliitance 
afforded us by our author ought to be loft. He 
goes on : '* Cicero, in bisfecond book De Officiis, 
" and his third De Legibus, fpeaking of the firft 
44 inftitution of kings, tells us, how they were at 
44 firft left to govern at their own difcretion with- 
44 out laws. Then their wills and their words were 
t4 law ; the making and execution of laws were in 
44 one and the? -fame hands. But what was the 

44 confequence f 

The right Conflitution of a 

44 confequence ? Nothing bat injuftice, and in- 
44 juftice without remedy, till the people were 
* 4 taught by neceffity to ordain laws, as rules 
44 whereby they ought to govern. Then began 
44 the meeting of the people fucceffively in their 
44 flipremeafTemblies to make laws, whereby kings, 
44 in fuch places as continued under the kingly 
44 form, were limited and retrained, To that they 
44 could do nothing in government but what was 
44 agreeable to law, for which they were accounta- 
44 ble, as well as other officer's were in other forms 
44 of government, to thofe fupreme councils and 
44 aflemblies. Witnefs all the old ftories of Athens-, 
44 Sparta, and other countries of Greece, where 
'* you fh&ll find, that the law-making and the law- 
44 executing powers were placed in diflincl hands 
44 under every form of government ; for fo much 
44 of freedom they retained ftill under every form, 
44 till they were both fwallowed up, as they were 
44 feveral times, by an abfolute domination. In 
44 old Rome we find Romulus, their firft king, cut 
b4 in pieces by the fenate, for taking upon him to 
" make and execute laws at his own pleafure: and 
** Livy tells us, that the reaibn why they expelled 
* 4 Tarquin, their laft king, was, becaufe he took 
44 the executive and legislative powers both into 
44 his own hands, making himfelf both legiflator 
44 and officer, inconfultofenatu, 4 without advice, 
** and in defiance of the fenate.' Kings being ca- 
4 flrered, then their (landing fenates came in play, 
** who, making and executing laws by decrees of 
44 their own, foon grew intolerable, and put the 
44 people upon divers defperate adventures, to get 
4<r the kgiflative power out of their hands, and 
44 place it in their own, that is, in a fucceffion of 
44 their fnpreme afTemblies : but the executive 
44 power they left, part in the hands of officers of 

44 their 

Commonwealth, examined. 4.23 

" their own, and part in the fenate; in which ftate 
44 it continued fome hundreds of years, to the great 
44 happinefs and content of all, till the fenate, by 
44 fleights and fubtilties, got both powers into 
44 their own pofleffion again, and turned all into 
44 confuilon. Afterwards their emperors, though 
44 usurpers, durft not at firft turn both thefe pow- 
44 ers into the channel of their own unbounded 
44 will; but did it by degrees, that they might 
44 the more infenfibly deprive the people of their 
4C liberty, till at length they openly made and exe- 
44 cuted laius at their own pleajure, being both le- 
44 gifla tors and officers, without giving an account 
44 to any : and To there was an end of the Roman 
44 liberty. To come nearer home, let us look 
44 into the old conftitution of the commonwealths 
44 and kingdoms of Europe. We find in the Italian, 
44 ftates Venice, which having the legiflative and 
* 4 executive power confined within the narrow 
44 pale of its nobility in the fenate, is not fb free 
44 as once Florence was, with Siena, Milan, and 
44 the reft, before their dukes, by arrogating both 
44 thofe powers to themielves, wormed them out 
* 4 of their liberty. Of all thofe'ftates, only Ge- 
44 noa remains in a free pofture, by keeping the 
44 power of legiilation only In their fbpreme af- 
44 femblies, and leaving the execution of law in a 
" titular duke and a council. The keeping of 
44 thefe powers afunder, within their proper fphere, 
44 is one principal reafon why they have been able 
44 to exclude tyranny out of their own ftate, while 
44 it hath run the round in Ifaly. What made 
44 the Grand Signior abfolute of old, but his en- 
** groffing both thefe powers ? and of late the 
44 kings of Spain and France? In antient times 
44 the cafe flood far otherwife ; for in Ambro- 
* 4 flo Morales his Chronicle you will find, that in 

" Spain 

424. ' *fhe right Constitution of a 

44 Spain the legiflative power was lodged only in 1 
44 their fupreme council, and their king was no 
44 more but an elective officer, to execute fuch laws 
44 as they made, and, in cafe of failing, to give 
44 them an account, and fubmit to their judgments, 
44 which was the common practice, as you may fee 
44 alfo in Mariana. It was fo alfo in Aragon, till 
*-* it was united to Caftile by the marriage of Fer- 
44 diand and Ifabella ; and then both ftates fbon 
44 loft their liberty, by the projects of Ferdinand 
44 andhisfuccefTors, who drew the powers of lc* 
44 giflation and execution of law within the verge 
44 and influence of the prerogative royal : whilft 
44 thefe twj powers -were kept diflintt, then thefe 
44 ft ate s 'were free ; but the engrqffing of them in 
44 one and the Jame hands, was the lofs of theif 
44 freedom. France like wife was once as free a$ 
u any nation under heaven : though the king of 
44 late hath done all, and been all in all, till the 
44 time of Lewis the Eleventh he was no more but 
44 an officer of ftate, regulated by law, to fee the 
44 laws put in execution, and the legiflative power 
44 refted in theaffembly of the three eflates ; but 
14 Lewis, by fnatching both thefe powers into the 
" r Jingle hands ofhimfelfzud his fucceflbrs, rooked 
44 them out of their liberty, which they may now 
44 recover again, if they have but fo much man- 
44 hood as to reduce the two powers into their an- 
46 tient, or into better channels. This pattern of 
44 Lewis was followed clofe by the late king of 
44 England (Charles the Firft.) /ho, byourantient 
44 laws, was the -fame here that Lewis ought to 
44 have been in France, an officer in truft, to fee 
44 to the execution of the laws ; but by aiming at 
44 the fame ends which Lewis attained, and ftrain- 
44 ing, by the ruin of parliaments, to reduce the /<?- 
44 gifiative power, as well as the executive > into his 


Commonwealth, examined, 

" f own hands, he, inftead of an abfolute tyranny ^ 
44 which might have followed his projeft, brought 
** a fwift deftruftion upon himfelf and his family. 
44 Thus you fee it appears, that the keeping of thefe 
44 two powers diftintf hath been a ground prefer- 
44 vative of the people's intereft, whereas their 
44 uniting hath been its ruin all along in fo many 
44 ages and nations." 

ThispafTage at large, in the author's own Words, 
has been quoted with pleafure, becaufe, although 
the accuracy of it in every particular cannot be 
anfwered for, the principle and examples are good, 
and he might have added as many more examples 
as there were or had been flmple governments in 
the world. It is in mrxed governments alone 
where thefe two powers are feparated. But the 
misfortune is, that our author contends for a mixed 
government, and a feparation of thelegiflative and 
executive powers, in name and appearance only* 
If.tbe executive is appointed by, or derived from, 
the legiflative, it is ftill in eflence but one power, 
arid in the fame hands. It is inaccurate to fay, that 
in 46 Athens and Sparta" the law-making and law- 
executing powers were placed in diftinfit hands 
under every form of government : it would be 
nearer the truth to fay, that they were free and 
happy in proportion as they feparated thefe pow- 
ers. But the fa6i is, thefe powers were never 
wholly feparated : part of the executive always 
was in the legiflative, andfometimes all of it, and 
thefe errors proved their ruin. When u the exe* 
44 cutive power was left by the people of Rome 
44 partly in the hands of officers of their own, and 
44 partly in the fenate," it war* a continual objedt 
of jealoufy and contention between the fenate and 
people. Whether France was ever 44 as free as any 
* 4 nation under heaven," or not, may be learned 

VOL. Ill, 3 I from 

hc right Constitution of & 

from Boulainvilliers *,- Abbe de Mablyf, and! 
M. MoreauJ. 

To read through the voluminous hiilories of 
Father Daniel, Mez^eray, Veilly, and confult ori- 
ginal authorities, as Gregory of Tours, FroifTart, 
Sec. would be a tedious enterprise, and, after all, 
the controversy would remain. Boulainvilliers 
Contends that^ France was a republic, and that the 
feudal lords had a right to make war upon the 
kings and upon one another : but it was, ac- 
cording to him, but an ariftocracy. M. Moreau, 
who examines all the other writers, as Boulain- 
villiers, Du Bos, De Mably, &c. contends that the 
monarchs have ever been abfolute: but at what 
period the common people, fuch as farmers,* me- 
chanics, merchants, Sec. were admitted to a vote 
in the choice of their rulers, even of the procu- 
rators of cities and boroughs which compofed the 
third eitate, the public would yet be glad to be 
informed. Lewis the Sixteenth has the unrival- 
led glory of admitting the people to a (hare in the 
government. Upon what grounds our author 
could pretend that France was ever as free as any 
nation under heaven is utterly incomprehensible. 
The kings, nobles, and clergy, were fuch flanding 
powers as our author detefled j and the third 
cftate was very far from being an adequate repre- 
fentation of the people : fo that the affemblies of 
the dates, and the ancient parliaments, were by no 
means fucceilions of the people's fovereign af- 
femblies. The conflitutions of the cortes in Caf- 
;tile, Arragon, Portugal, and all the other kingdoms 
now united under the kings of Spain or Portu- 

J - -4F ( ' P 

* Etat de la France. Lcttres fur les aneieas Parlcmens 
cle France. 

^p Obiervations fur 1'Hiftoire de France. 
$ Difeours lur 1'Hiftoire de France. 

Commonwealth, examined- .4.27 

,gai, were equally repugnant to our author's fyf- 
tem, and equally deftruftive of it*. Upon this 
head a judgment may be formed, by confulting 
Geddes's Hiftory of the Wars of the Commons of 
Caflile, and his Vie w of a Cortes aflbmbled at 
Toledo in 1406. 

44 Reducing tranlaions and the intcrefls of the 
4 * public into the difpolition and power of a few 
" particular perfons. The consequences have 
44 been, that matters were not carried by fair de- 
44 bate, but by deflgn and furprife ; not by deli- 
44 beration of % the people in their open alTemblies, 
44 but according to premeditated refolutions, and 
" foreftalments of crafty projectors in private 
44 juntos ; not according to the true interefl of 
44 flate, but in order to the fcrving of men's ends 4 
44 not for the benefit and improvement of the peo- 
* fc pie, but to keep them under, as ignorant of 
44 true liberty, as the horfe and mule, to be bri- 
44 died, faddled, and ridden., tinder the wile pre- 
^ 4 tence cf being governed and kept in order. 
44 But the grand and worie confeqilence of all 
44 hath been this, that inch colleagues, partners, 
*' and engrofTers of power, having once brought 
A * about their -ends by lying practices upon the 
44 people, have ever fallen into fits of emulation 
44 againfl themfclves ; and their .next deiign hath 
4; ever been to rook their fellows, and rid them- 
44 felves of competitors, fo that at length they 
44 have been their own executioners, and ruined 
*'* one another: and the people having by this 
" means been torn with civil diffeniions and 
44 the miferies of war, by being drawn into par- 
I A4 ties, according to their feveral humours andaf- 

* Alifcellaneous Trafts, vol. Ju 

" fedions, 

4.28 "The right Conftitution of a 

" fetions, the ufual event ever was, that in the 
" end they have been feixed as the prey of fome 
" fingle tyrant." 

It muft be confefTed our author underftands 
himfelf and his fubject very well ; he is aware of 
all the difficulties and dangers, but yet he will not 
fee, or will not confefs, that his own Right Con- 
ftitution remains expofed to all their ravages, 
without the {mailed provifion to defend it. How 
will it be poflible, in a (ingle fovereign aflembly, 
to prevent tranfations and public interefts falling 
into the difpofition of a few P How will it be pof- 
lible that matters mould always be carried by I 
friendly debate, and not by defign and furprife, 
by premeditated refolutions of crafty projectors in j 
private cabinets ; not according to public inte- 
refl, but private ends; not for the benefit of the 
people, but to keep them in ignorance, to be 
bridled and ridden ? Howcanfuch colleagues and 
partners be prevented from impofing lying prac- 
tices on the people, from emulation, envy, and 
jealoufy among themfelves; and from rooking one : ' 
another? How {hall the people be prevented from, 
being torn with civil diflenfions, and drawn into 
parties, by their feveral humours, principles, fu- 
perftitions, prejudices, fancies, and affections?! 
and how (hall all this be prevented from ending 
in a (ingle tyranny ? Not one check, not the leaft 
reftraint, no appearance of balance or controul, 
is once mentioned or thought of: for an executive 
appointed by the legiflative will be none at all ; it 
will only facilitate intrigue and artifice, to diiguife 
and conceal the blackeft defigns. The example 
of " the thirty tyrants of Athens" is a proof of 
this. " Xenophon tells us, they drew the deter- ! 
u ruinations of all things into their own clofets, 
to manage them ' calculis et fuffra- 

" giis 

Commonwealth, examined. 4.20 

" giis populi,' by the deliberations and votes of 
44 the people, whom they had brought to their 
44 own devotion in the aflembly, to countenance 
44 their proceedings ;" "and their "cuftom was, if 
44 any fort of men complained and murmured at 
44 their doings, or appeared for the public, imme- 
44 diately to fnap them off, by the lofs of life or 
" fortune, under pretence of being fedifious ^nd 
44 turbulent fellows againfl the peace of their ty- 
44 ranny." But will not fiu:h thirty, or lefs num- 
ber of tyrants, arife in every fingle fovereign af- 
fembly, and behave in the fame manner ? In a re- 
prefentative affembly they may take offa trouble - 
ibme member in an eafier manner, by applying 
the executive and judicial powers, and the public 
treafure, among his conftituents, to have him re- 
jetted or left out at the next election. 44 The 
44 event of the thirty tyrants, combination was a 
44 civil war, which ended in their banilhment ; but 
44 a new junto often men got into their places, 
" whofe government proving little lefs odious than 
44 the former, gave occafion to. newchanges, which 
44 never left fhifting till they fell into a fingle ty- 
44 ranny." If 44 the wilder fort of people, having 
44 by a fad experience felt the fruits of their own 
44 error, in following the lufls of particular power- 
44 ful perfons, grew wife, and combining with the 
4 honefter fort, they all, as one man, fet their 
44 moulders to. the work, and reftored the primi- 
44 tive majefly and authority of their fupreme af- 
44 femblies," how long did it lafl ? Ariilides him- 
fe if began to deftroy it, Thcmiftocles did more, 
Pericles more ftill, and Alcibiades iinifhed the 
ruin. It is not poifible to fay that the Athenian 
conftitution operated as a fteady fyftem of liberty 
for one moment ; becaufe, although a multitude 
of checks played in it, there was no fettled ba- 

43 fhc right Conflitution of a 

lance. The example from Herodotus, book ii. 
is (lill more deciflve in pur favour, and againfl 
our author : " Monarchy being abolifhed in 
Ac Egypt after the death of Icing Setho, and a de- 
. ** claration publifbed for the freedom of the peo- 
44 pie, immediately the adminiftration of all af- 
44 fairs wasengrofTed iu the hands of twelve gran- 
" dees (or popular men, principes populi) who, 
44 having made themfelves fecure againft the peo- 
44 pie, in a few years fell to quarrelling with one 
44 another, as the manner is, about their a fhare in 
** the government. ' This drew the people into 
44 feveral parties, and a civil war enfued, wherein 
" Pfammeticus, one of the twelve, having flam 
44 all his partners, left the people in the lurch, 
*' and feated himfelf, inflead of a free ilate, in a 
* 4 fingle tyranny." Our autiior might have quoted 
the example of the apoftles themfelves, who fell 
into difputes who fhoukl be the firft in the king- 
dom they thought approaching. The two trium- 
virates are illuflrious, among thoulands of other 
examples equally appofite. Pompy, Ca^far, and 
CraiTus, drew the affairs of the world into their 
hands, determining all in a private junto, without 
the advice or the confent of the fenate or people, 
u unlefs itwerenowand then tomakeftalkinghorfes 
i4 of them, for the more clear conveyance of fome 
i4 unpleafing defign." ; Thefe men, having made 
" an agreement among themfelves, that nothing 
* 4 mould be done in the commonwealth but what 
" pleafed their own humour, it was not long be- 
Ai fore the fpirit of ambition fet them flying at the 
i; faces of one another, and drew the whole world 
w upon the ftage, to ad that bloody tragedy, 
-" whofe cataflrophe was the death of Pompey, 
64 and the dominion of Caefar." " The fecond trj- 
** iimv irate was between Qdavius, Lepidus, and 

64 Antony f 

Commonwealth, examined* 

" Antony. Thefe having fliared the world be- 
* 4 tween them, prefently fell to bandying againft 
44 one another ; Auguftus, picking a quarrel with 
44 Lepidus, gave him a lift out of his authority, 
44 and confined him to a clofe imprifbnment in the 
44 city ; next he picks a quarrel with Antony, 
44 begins a new civil war, in which he ruined 
44 Antony, and feated himfelf in the enjoyment 
44 of a fingle tyranny.'*" But our author mould 
have remembered, that all this was after the fe- 
nate had loft its authority, and the people, in 
their affemblies, afTumed all power; and he 
fhould have been fenfible, that thus it will and 
muft ever be, in all fimple governments, to the 
end of the world. 

44 In the great conteft between Henry the 
14 Third and the Barons, about the liberties of 
44 themfelves and the people, the king being forc- 
44 ed at length to yield to the lords, inftead of 
44 freeing the nation, engrofFed all power into their 
* 4 own hands, under the name of the twenty-four 
44 confervators of the kingdom, and became toti- 
44 dem tyranni,attingallin their own names, neg- 
44 letting or over-ruling parliaments ; but then, 
44 not agreeiitgamong themfelves, there were three 
44 or four of them who defeated the other twenty, 
44 and drew the entire management of affairs into 
44 their own hands, viz. the earls of Leicefter, 
44 Gloucefter, Hereford, and Spencer :- yet it con- 
44 tinned not long ; for Leicefter getting all into 
44 his power, fell at enmity with Gloucefter, and 
44 was defeated by him. At length Leicefter, 
* 4 putting his fortune to a batttej was flain ; and 
the king thereupon getting all power back 
again, took advantage of that opportunity for 
greatening himfelf and his prerogative. All 
the people got by the effufion of their blood 

44 and 


4.3 2 fhe right Constitution of a 

44 and lofs of their peace was, that inftead of one 
44 tyrant they had twenty-four, and then four ; 
44 and after them a (ingle ufurper, Montford, earl 
44 of Leicefter ; and he being gone, they were 
44 forced to ferve their old tyrant Henry the 
44 Third again, who by this means became the 
44 more fecure and firm in his tyranny." And are 
not all thefe examples, and millions of others that 
happen in every village, hamlet, and burgade in 
the world (for in all thefe there are contentions 
for precedence, and men who would rather be 
there the firft than the fecond in Rome as fin - 
cerely as Ca?far) enough to convince the people 
and popular writers of the ncceffity of more than 
one branch of power, and indeed of more than 
two? The fingle ftruggle for the firft place mud 
eternally diftraft every fimple government, and 
muft difturb every one that has only two branches* 
Unlefs there is a legal, conftitutional, and habi- 
tual mode of always determining who mall be 
foremoft, there can be no tranquillity among 
mankind. Grave exhortations to fingle aflem- 
blies, whether fenates or reprefentatives, not to 
permit public tranfa&ions to be engrofled, and 
reft in the power of a few particular perions, will 
be thrown away ; for, flich are the contradictions 
in the human character, the multitude who have 
no hopes of being intruded, are as fervile, as the 
few who have, are afpiririg; and, upon the whole, 
there is more fuperiority in the world given than 

44 Driving offa&ions and parties. Faction de* 
44 ftroyed Rome : the factions, headed by the two 
44 potent families of Hannibal and Hanno, de- 
" llroyed Carthage. Faction made Rome floop 
44 to Caefar ; Athens to Pififlratus. Faction let 

44 the 

Commonwealth, examined. 4.33 

C4 the Turk into Conftantinople and Hungary ; 
" the Goths and Vandals into Spain and Italy ; 
44 the Romans into Jerufalem : it fubje&ed Ge- 
4i noatothe family of Sforz.a, dukes of Milan; 
" brought the Spaniard into Sicily and Naples ; 
ki and the French into Milan, where they oufted 
" Sforza." To thefe inftances might be added 
as many as you pleafe ; but it is amazing that all 
that have happened, have not been fufficient to 
fhew the neceflity of a government fo mixed that 
fa&ions may always be ruled. There can be no 
faction but of the one, the few, or the many; 
and a triple balance of equal powers aifords a 
never-failing remedy againft either ; and if either 
of thefe is wanting, there is always not only a 
poflibility and a probability, but an abfolute cer- 
tainty, of one fpecies of fa&ion arifing, againft 
which the conftitution affords no defence. 

" Violation of faith, principles, promifes, and 
44 engagements," an " impiety that ought to be 
64 exploded out of all nations that bear the name 
64 of Chriftians ;" and yet we find it often pafs 
among the lefs difcerning 44 fort of men for ad- 
" mirable policy ;" and thofe importers that ufed 
ij: 44 have had the luck to be efteemed the only 
44 politicians."--Our author wifely and nobly con- 
demns the reafoning of Machiavel in his Prince, 
44 that becaufe the greateft part of the world 
" being wicked, unjuft, deceitful, full of trea- 
44 chery and circumvention, there is a neceflity 
44 thatthofewhoaredownright,andconfinethem- 
44 felves to the ftrid rules of honefty, muft ever 
' 4 look tobe over-reached by theknavery of others. 
He quotes too from Machiavel : 4t This part hath 
" been covertly fliewed to mankind by antient 
44 writers; who fay that Achilles, and many others 

VOL. III. 3 K 

434 The right Conftitution of & 

" of thofe antient princes, were intruded to Chi- 
" ron the Centaur, to be brought up under his 
" difcipline. The moral of this, having for their 
*' teacher one that was half a bead and half a 
" man, was nothing elfe, but that is was needful 
" for a prince to underfland how to make his ad- 
" vantage of the one and other nature, becaufe 
" neither could fubfid without the other." 

Without condemning our fpecies fo far as Ma- 
chiavel, by pronouncing the greatefl part wicked ; 
or going the length of the antients, in fuppofing 
them half beads ; or of fome moderns, in calling 
them half devils ; candor, and charity itfelf, mud 
allow,, that in all great nations, at lead, there arc 
many both wicked, brutal, and diabolical ; and 
enough of both to trample on the laws, and .dif- 
turb the peace, liberty, and property, of the good 
and humane, unlefs pro vifion is made in the con- 
flitution to redrain them. In all fimple govern- 
ments, the word part of the fpecies are lead con- 
trouled, and have mod temptations ; and from 
hence arifes a new and drong argument in favour 
of fuch a mixture, as (hall guard every avenue to 
impodure, and every inlet to vice. Although 
the vices and follies of mankind, no more than 
their difeafes and bodily infirmities, can never be 
wholly eradicated in this mixed date of good and 
evil, and we cannot rationally hope that policy 
will ever change the earth into heaven, yet the 
balance of three branches appears to afford all 
that the cenditntion and courieof things will ad- 
mit ; at lead all that have hitherto been difco- 
vered. It would be folly to fay that no further 
improvements can be discovered : the moral and 
intellect ual world is as little known as the phyfi* 
cal. We may hope, from education, enquiry, and 
experiment, great advances ; but until they are 



Commonwealth, examined, 435 

farther pnrfned, let ns adopt fuch as have already 
been found practicable and ufeful. There is one 
alteration which will be found indifpenfible, be- 
fore any great meliorations can be made in fo- 
ciety and government ; fome more rational me- 
thod of determining the people's votes in elec- 
tions, and fome effectual provifion againfl cor- 
ruption. The cry of family fortune, fome pre- 
judice of fuperflition, fome habitual fondnefs, a 
prejudice, a whim, a name, too often determine 
the votes of multitudes, even when groifer pro- 
fligacy has no (hare. The people muft be taught 
to be governed more by reafon, and lefs by founds. 
The word king, like magic, excites the adora- 
tion of fome, and execration of others : fome, 
who would obey the lawful orders of a king, 
would rebel againfl the fame orders, given by the 
fame authority under the name of governors or 
prefidcnt : others would cheerfully fubmit to a 
governor or prefident, but think rebellion againfl 
a king, with only the fame authority, virtue and 
merit, and obedience to God. Until the nature 
of things are more generally underflood by the 
people, and mere founds have lefs influence, it 
will be in vain to expert any great improvements. 
There is another particular too. in which, I fuf- 
peV, the people mud change the fundamental 
maxim of their policy throughout the world, be- 
fore much further improvements will be made. 
The people, in all ages and countries, have laid 
it down as a rule, that their fervice muft be per- 
fectly difmterefled ; no man deferves to be em- 
ployed by them, who will not fervc them gratis, 
at lead, if not put himfelf to great expence to 
procure their votes. The confequences of this 
are many. i. No man can ferve them who is not 
rich : this is giving up at once their own right of 


436 The right Constitution of a 

election into the hands of an ariftocracy, and that 
charaCteriftic of ariftocracy too which has theleaft 
merit in it, mere wealth. 2. This introduces an 
univerfal fyftem of Machiavelian hypocrify into 
popular elections : and thofe who are moft inte- 
refted, moft corrupted, and moft determined to 
carry the commodity to market, are the moft libe- 
ral in their offers of a price to purchafe it, the moft 
oftentatious in profeffions of difinterefted motives. 
Ariftides,Fabricius, andCincinnatus, are eternally 
quoted, as if fuch characters were always to be 
found in fufficient numbers to protect the people's 
liberties, and a cry and fhew of pure virtue is fet 
up by the moft profligate and abandoned of hu- 
man kind, fuch as would fell their fathers, their 
country, and their God, for profit, place, and 
power. Hypocrify, fimulation, fincfTe, are not 
more practiied in the courts of princes then rliey 
are in popular elections, nor more encouraged by 
kings then people. Unlefs fome means can be j 
difcovered to reform the people, and to enlighten 
them, to make, inftead of chicanery, ; 
the vifible obvious intcreft both of governors 
and governed, it will be in vain to expeCt great 
changesfor the better in government. To improve . 
this, morals andfcience muftbe improved, extend- 
ed, and made more general, if not univerfal ; and, 
after all, perfection we know can never be at- 
tained in either. 

Thefecond objection is, " that fuch a form in 
*' the people's hands would caufe confuflon in go- 
" vernment." This objection feems to have been 
flatted by his own party, who were afraid of the 
influence of royalifts ; and the anfwer to it diftin- 
guifhes t wo ftates of a commonwealth ; --one, while 
it is new after a revolution, when great numbers j 


Commonwealth, examined. 

are difaffe&ed. Thefe he treats with great feve- 
rity, and allows the danger of confufion from their 
intrigues ; he therefore excludes them from vot- 
ing, or being chofen, and juftifies it by Greek and 
Roman examples. 

The other is a quiet flate, when all the people 
may, he thinks, he admitted to choofe and be cho- 
fen without confufion. But as this whole objec- 
tion, and anfwer to it, relate to the time and cir- 
cumftances in which he wrote, it is unnecefTary to 
enlarge upon it ; it is neverthelefs amufing, or pro- 
voking, to obferve with what facility he aflerts 
the right of the majority to mzkeflaves of the mi- 
nority. " Such as have commenced a war, to ferve 
44 the lufts of tyrants againft the people's intereft, 
44 mould not be received any longer a part of the 
46 people, but may be handled as (laves when fub- 
44 dued, if their fubduers pleafe fo to ufe them ; 
44 becaufe, by their treafons againit the majefty of 
44 the people, they have made forfeiture of all their 
44 rights and privileges/' The majefty of the peo- 
ple is a very venerable, fublime, and affe&ing idea; 
but, in human theory, every government, defpo- 
tifm, monarchy, ariftocracy, and every mixture, 
is created by the people, continued by their fove- 
reign will, and reprefents their majefty, their au- 
guft body. R.efiftance therefore to adefpotifm, or 
fimple monarchy or ariftocracy, or a mixed go- 
vernment, is as really treafon againft the majefty 
of the people, as when attempted againft a fimple 
or reprefentative democracy; fmce the right of 
the people to confide their authority and majefty 
to one man, or a few men, can no more be doubted 
than to a large number. In the divine theory, 
upon which moft of the governments of Europe 
ftill reft, it is not only treafon, but impiety and 
Wafphemy, to refift any government whatever. If 


The right Conftitution of a 

the fovereignty of a nation is a divine right, there 
is an end of all the rights of mankind at once ; and 
refinance to the fovereignty, wherever placed, is 
rebellion againft God. 

It is worth while to obferve alfo acontradi&ion 
to what our author had advanced in the former 
part of his work. " The old commonwealth of 
* 4 Greece," he fays here, " were wont to heap up 
44 all honours they could vent, upon fuch as did 
44 or fufFered any thing for the maintenance of 
44 their liberties." Under a former head he repre- 
fented it as a commendable cuftom of common- 
wealths to make their fervice a burthen. 

The third objedion is, " that the management 
44 of (late affairs requires judgment and expcri- 
44 ence, which is not to be expefted from new 
44 members coming into thofe affemblies upon 
44 every election." Theanfwer to this objection 
is of great importance, becaufe it in effeft, though 
not in words, gives up his whole argument in fa- 
vour of a fmgle fovereign afTembly. He diftin- 
guifties between afta imperii and arcana imperil, 
a6ls of {late and fecrets of ftate. By atts of ftate 
he means the laws and ordinances of the legiflative 
power ; things that have moft influence upon a 
commonwealth, as to its ill or well being ; and. the 
only remedies for fuch bad cuftoms, inconveni- 
ences, and incroachments, as afflict and grieve it. 
Matters of grievance being matters of common 
fenfe, and fuch as are obvious to the people, who 
bed know where the fhoe pinches them, there is 
no need of any great fkill or judgment in pafling 
or apply ing a law for remedy. 44 But as to fecrets 
44 of ftatc, or the executive part of government, 
44/ during the intervals of their fupreme aflemblies ; 
" thefe things being of a nature remote from or- 

44 dinafy 

Ccmmomvealth, examined. 

44 dinary apprehenfions, and fuch as neceflfarily 
." require prudence, time, and experience, to fit 
44 men for management, much in reafon may be 
44 faid, and mull be gr&ntcd, for the continuation of 
"fuch trufts in the fame hands, as relate to matter 
44 of council or adminiftration of juftice, more or 
44 kfs, according to their good or ill behaviour. 
44 A prudential continuation of thefe may (with- 
44 out quelUou) and ought to be, allowed upon 
44 difcretion ; becaufe if they do amifs, they are 
44 eafily accountable to the people's aflemblies." 
Here our author's plan begins to develope itfelf. 
Hitherto we had heard nothing but of fucceflive 
fovereign aflemblies of the people's reprefentatives : 
now indeed we learn that this afTembly is to ap- 
point judges, generals, and admirals, and a fiand- 
jng committee perhaps for the treafiiry, the admi- 
ralty, the cuftoms, excife, and foreign affairs. 
Whether thefe judges, and committees, and com- 
manders, are to be members of the fovereign af- 
fembly, or whether their appointments are to va- 
cate their feats, is not afcertained ; but in either 
caie it is obvious they will be the friends and con- 
fidents of the prevailing party in thehoufe: they 
will beperfonson whofc friendfmp the major party 
in the afTembly can rely to promote their views, 
by advancing their friends among their conflitu- 
cuts, in order to procure a new election, or, in 
other words, zftanding power, a thing which our 
author dreads fo much in the reprefentative affem- 
bly ; and thus the whole executive and judicial 
power y and all the public treafure, is at once ap- 
plied to corrupt the legiflature and its electors. 
And what is it 44 to be accountable to the people's 
44 aflemblies ?" It is to be afraid to offend the 
flrorigeft party in the houfe, by beftow ing an office 
or deciding a caufe, civil or criminal, againft their 


44-0 The right Conftitution of a 

inclinations. James's boaft comes in very perti-' 
nently here. The leaders in the houfe having the 
appointment, the impeachment, cenfnre, condem- 
nation, reward, and pay of all thebifhops. jndges, 
and commanders, in their power, they will have 
what law, gofpel, war, peace and negociation they 
pleafe. Corruption is let in in fnch a torrent, as 
the virtue of no people that ever lived, or will 
live, is able to refifl, even for a few years : the 
gangrene fpreads immediately through the whole 

Our author proceeds to his ordinary routine of 
examples. " Athens upheld conftant returns and 
44 periods of fucceflion in their fnpreme afTemblies 
44 for remedy of grievances ; and they had a ftand- 
u ing council, called the Areopagus, to whom the 
44 fecrets of ftate were committed during the ad- 
44 miniftration of government, during the inter- 
44 vals of thofe aflemblies, at whofe return they 
44 were accountable, and warily continued or ex- 
44 eluded, as the people found caufe." But our au- 
thor no where recollects the checks to the popular 
government of Athens, which, however, was never 
at any one moment fo popular as his project. He 
no where recollects, that there were ten flaves to 
one citizen ; that the education of the citizens 
therefore was fuperior to that which is poflible in 
any nation that has not flaves. He no where re- 
colleCts, that the whole of religion was favcd in the 
hands of the nobly born, which gave a few fami- 
lies fuch an influence as no part of Chriftendom 
now affords an example of, not even in catholic 
countries. He no where recollects, that the whole 
people were divided into ranks, and all magiftrates 
taken out of the higher ranks. He no where re- 
collects the fenate of one hundred, and afterwards 
of five hundred, appointed by lot, which formed 


Commonwealth, examined. 4.4.1 

council of ftate, which had the conftant charge 
of political affairs, and particularly the preparation 
of bufinefs for the afTembly of the people. He 
no where pays a fufficient attention to the court of 
Areopagus, and its important powers, and the per* 
fons of whom it was compofed: all the archonsout 
of office were members for life. He no where 
-recoltefts, that a flngle reprefentative afTembly, 
being necefTarily few, are more liable to corrup- 
tion than even a colieUve afTembly, who are ma* 
ny. Thefe important checks, which gave fuch vaft 
weight to the ariftocratical part of the commu* 
nity in the government of Athens, have no equi- 
valent in our author's plan. He no where recol- 
lels, that Solon's inftitution was at laft ruined by 
allowing to the fourth clafs of citizens an equal 
VoteintheafTembly of the people; a terrible warn* 
Ingagainft all Rich projects of government* 

In Sparta and Rome, fays our author, they had 
the like : but it is really mocking to read thefe af* 
Hrmationsfo entirely without foundation. The go- 
vernments of Sparta and Rome were governments 
as different and as oppofite to our author's " right 
ifc form" as can be imagined ; and the moment 
they obtained the leafl refemblance of it, all au^ 
thority was ieen in one centre, in Nabis andCasfan 
Florence too was after the fame mode : Holland 
and Switzerland. In Holland the people never 
had the election of any regular aflemblies, and they 
never fpeak but by petition, or in bodies unknown 
to any written conltitution; I mean mobs: a more 
nnjucky example could not have been thought of. 
Their regencies too are for life in general, and fill 
up their own vacancies : in all the ariftocratical 
cantons of Switzerland the fame. How far fome 
of the imallefl democratical cantons in any parti- 
cular referable our author's notions, may be Ieen in 

VOL. III. 3 L the 

' *r .- 1 .... < X "~\ 

44.2 The right Conftitution of a 

the former volume; but no fiifficient juftificatioir 
of them will be found there : but if a parallel 
could,- in ftates fo fmall and poor, be found, it 
would be no precedent for nations, large, opulent, 
and powerful, full of great objr&s of ambition, 
andconftantly expofed to the hoftile envy and re- 
fentment of great and dangerous neighbours. 

The fourth objection is, " that fuch a govern- 
" merit brings great damage to the public, by their 
" frequent difcontents, divifions, and tumults.'" 

In anfwer to this, he confiders feveral cafes.- 
i .'When any citizens arrogate privileges to them- 
felves or their families, beyond the ordinary ftand- 
ard of the people, .then difcontents, divifions, and 
tumults arife. In Rome, the fenate retaining the 
power of the old government in the hands of them - 
felves and their families, upon the expuldon of 
the Tarquins, occafioned the fubfequent difcon- 
tents and tumults. " Had Brutus made them 
free when ** he declared them fo, or had the fe- 
4fc iiate followed the advice and example of Pub- 
u licola, all occafion of difcontent had been ta- 
" ken away." " 2. When the people felt them- 
44 felves not fairly dealt withal" by their leaders 
and generals. In Syracufe, Dionyfius being made 
general, under pretence of defending the people's 
liberties, and then ufing his power to other pur- 
pofes, became the firebrand of the (late, and 
put the people all into flames for his expulfion. 
" In Sparta, the people were peaceable until 
44 they found themfelves over-reached, and their 
" credulity abufed, for converting liberty into ty- 
46 ranny under Manchanides and Nabis. In Rome f 
" under the people's government, the fad iight of 
"^people fwarming in tumults, their fhops fhut 
u up, alL trade given over, and the city forfaken, 

44 as 

Commonwealth, examined, 44.3 

.f* a alfo in Athens, the oecafion was the fame ; for 
44 though the people naturally love eafe and peace, 
44 yet finding themfelves outwitted by Heights, and 
44 abufed by feats of the Senate, they grew out of 
44 all patience. When any one of their fenators, 
44 or of themfelves, arrived to any height of pow- 
44 er, by inlinuating into the people's favour upon 
44 fpecious and popular pretences, and then made 
* ; a forfeiture of thofe pretences, as Syllaand Ma- 
44 rius, they were the caufes of thofe tumults and 
" flaughters among the Romans, the infamy of 
44 which has been caft moft injurioufly on the peo- 
f 4 pie's government by the profane pens of court 
44 penlioners. Caefar too was the cauie of all thofe 
f 4 civil broils and tragedies among the people." 
An impartial writer would have brought every one 
of thefe examples in proof of the direct contrary ; 
for they all (hew, that in proportion as the people 
gained an authority, uncontrouied, or more than, 
a balance for the fenate, they grew more difcon- 
tented, divided, and tumultuous, the more inclined 
to ftir up fa&ious leaders, as Pericles, Alcibiades, 
Cleon, the Gracchi, Marius, Sylla, and Cataline 
and Csfar. The people were certainly peaceable 
under the kings, though the archons.and nobles 
were not. The people were peaceable under the 
Grecian archons and Roman fenate, fo peaceable as 
to bear extreme oppreflion ; but their turbulence 
began with their afpiring at power, and increafedas 
it grew, and grew intolerable the moment they ob- 
tained the exercife of that authority which our au- 
thor contendsthey ought always toexercife. Thefe 
examples, therefore, all (hew the neceffity of a ba- 
lance to the people's exercife of power in a mixed 
government. 3. The peoplearetumultuouswhen 
fenfible of oppreflion, although naturally of a 
peaceable temper, minding nothing but a free en- 
joyment : 

444- yh c right Conftitution of a 

joyment ; but ifcircumvented,mifled,orfqueeLed^ 
by fuch as they have truded, they fwell like the fea, 
over-run the bounds of judice and honefty, ruin- 
ing all before them ; but, unhappily, they very 
often midake and fwell againd the moil: honed and 
faithful men, and infift upon being mifled by the 
mod artful and knavifh. A great majority of the 
people, and thofe as honed as any, are too fond of 
eafe and peace to trouble themfefves with public 
affairs, which leaves an opportunity to the profli- 
gate and difTolutetohave more influence than they 
ought to fet up flich idols as will flatter and fe- 
duce them, by gifts, by offices, and by partiality 
in judgments ; which fhews, that although they 
are very competent to the choice of one branch of 
the legiflative, they are altogether incapable of 
well managing the executive power. It is really 
unaconntable, but by that party fpirit which de r 
droys the under (landing as well as the heart, that 
our author mould conclude, " there is not one pre- 
" cedent of tumults or iedition, which can be cit- 
" ed out of all dories, where the people where in 
" fault." It was even their fault to be drawn in or 
provoked; it was their fault to let up idols, whofe 
craft or injudice, and whofe fair pretences, had 
defigns upon the public liberty. They ought to 
know that fuch pretenders will always arife, and 
that they never are to be truded uncontrouled. 

But he feems to be aware that all this would; 
not be quite fatisfa&ory. In order to extenuate 
the evil, he admits, for argument fake, that the 
people were tumultuous in their own nature ; and 
he ought to have admitted, from regard to truth, 
that without laws, government, and force to re- 
ftrain them, they really are fo. " Tumults, when 
u they happen, are more eafily born than thofe in- 
^ eaaveniences which arife from the tyranny of 

" monarch^ 

Commonwealth, examined. 

* 4 monarchs and great ones." It is a great quef* 
tioii, whether anarchy or tyranny be the greater 
evil ? No man who reads the third .book of Thu 
cidkks, or Plato's defcription of :, demccratical 
city, or who confiders the nature of mankind, \vill 
helitate to lay that anarchy, while it hits, is a 
greater evil than fimple monarchy, even exercifed 
by tyrants: but as anarchy can never laft long, 
and tyranny may be per'petual, no man who loves 
his country, and is willing to fubmit to a prefent 
evil for a future public good, would heiitate to 
prefer anarchy, provided there was any hope that 
the fair order of liberty, and a free conftitution, 
would ariie out of it. A chance of this would be 
preferred by a patriot to the certainty in the other 
cafe. ' Some men too would prefer anarchy, con- 
fcious of more addreis with the people than with 
a monarch : but if anarchy and tyranny were to be 
alike permanent and durable, the generality of 
mankind would and ought to prefer tyranny ; at 
lean: monarchy, upon the principle that a thonfand 
tyrants arc worfe than one. But our author exte- 
nuates the evils of tumults.- i. The injury never 
extends farther than ibrae few perlbna, and thoic, 
for the moffc part, guilty enough, as the thirty 
grandees in Athens, the ten in Rome, Sec. Such, 
tumults, however, have often proceeded to greater 
lengths, and have had innocent and cxcelknrmcn 
for their objeL Examples enough have been cit- 
ed from Greece and Italy, as well as Holland. 2. 
Tumults are not laiiing* An eloquent oration of 
a grave man, as Menenius, Agrippa, Virginias, or 
Cato, may pacify them. True ibmetimes, but 
much oftener the grave man will fall a facrifice to 
their fury. 3. Tumults ufually turn to the good 
of the public; the great are kept, in awe, the fpi- 
rits of the people kept warm and high with 


446 The right Constitution of a 

thoughts of liberty. This has fome weight in 
monarchies and ariftocracies, where they may be 
quelled; but in fimple democracy, where they can- 
not, they would be fatal. 44 In Rome they ob- 
" tained the law of the twelve tables, procured 
44 the tribunes and fupremeafTemblies, and frequent 
44 confirmation of them." The fupreme aifem- 
blies they obtained are very unluckily quoted, be-, 
caufe thefe, having no controul, deflroyed the 

44 All this is far otherwife under the ftandjng 
" power of the great ones. They, in their conn- 
* 4 cils, projects, and defigns, are faft and tenaci- 
44 ous." As this is an acknowledgment that the 
people are noffafl and tenacious, that isfteady, it 
fliould feem an argument in favour of a (landing 
fenate, at lead of fome fenate appointed from the 
perfons of mod experience, belt education, moil 
refpetaole families, and confiderabie property, 
who may be fuppofed thoroughly to underiland 
the conftitution, to have the largeil: views, and be 
44 faft and tenacious" of the maxims, cuftoms, 
and laws of the nation, to temper theunfieadmefs 
of the people, and even of their reprefentatives.' 
44 The evils under thefe forms are more remedilefs 
4(r and univerfal." Not at all in mixed govern- 
ments. They are, on the contrary, more eafily 
44 remedied," for the houfe of commons is the 
grand inqueft of the nation. 4t Thofe tumults 
44 and quarrels that arife among them, never tnd 
44 but in further oppreffion of the people." Quar- 
rels among them have commonly given more 
weight to the people, and muft always end in reliev- 
ing the people, where the people have a full (hare. 
Upon the whole, tumults arife in all govern- 
ments ; but they are certainly mofl remedilefs and 
certainly fatal in. a fimplc democracy. Cheats and 


Commonwealth, examined, 44,7 

tricks of great men will as certainly take place in 
iimple democracy as in flmple ariflocracy or mo- 
narchy* arid will belefs eafily refifted or remedied ; 
and therefore our author has not vindicated his 
projeft from the objection of its danger from tu- 
mults. A mixed government, of all others, is heft 
calculated to prevent, to manage, and to remedy 
tumults, by doing juflice to all men on all occafi- 
ons, to the minority as well as majority ; and by 
forcing all men, majority as w r ell as minority, to 
be contented with it. 

The fifth objeftion is, " that little fecurity is 
44 to be had for the more wealthy and powerful 
44 fort of men, in regard of that liberty which the 
" people aifume to accufe or calumniate whom 
44 they pleafe." 

In anfwer to this, our author acknowledges that 
ciilumniation (by which he means ambitious flan- 
dering of men, by whifperings, reports, or falfe 
accufations,) have been more or lefs in all forms 
of government, but affirms that they were never 
allowed or approved in his form of government ; 
that they have been mod in ule under Handing 
powers of great ones, who make it their grand en- 
gine to remove or ruin all who (land in their way, 
and have always inftruments ready at hand ; that 
it is marked out by Ariftotle inter flagitia domi- 
nationis. But the true and impartial anfwer is 
this, that all fimple governments are addicted to 
this vice, and make ufe of it as an inftrument to 
deftroy their adverfaries. In our au thor's " Right 
" Conititution" it would be as prevalent as in any 
monarchy orariftocracy, and in each of the fimple 
governments it is equally impoflible to prevent, 
palliate, or remedy the evil. * In a fimple demo- 
cracy it i-nnft be the worft of all upon the whole, 


;Y . - 
fhe right Conflitution ofd 

becaufe the wfiole nation mud necefTarily be flart-* 
derers. Tjx 1 majority calumniate of courie for the 
fame repptfn that unlimited monarchs and fenates 
do, v\L t to fupport their power and annoy their en- 
emies and the minority are neceiTUated to flander 
in tficir turn in ielf-defence. The liberty of accu* 
fjptiQp, however, in every form of government, muft 
in fome degree be admitted; without it, neither 
will nor pleafure, nor law, can govern. In a fitn- 
ple democracy it would be unlimited ; every body 
belonging to the majority would be informers and 
accufers, and always fure of iupporting his accu- 
fation. The minority, therefore, in a limple de- 
mocracy, are fubjcdted to ipies, informers, acCufa* 
tions, and llanders, without end and without re- 

In a mixed government, like the Englifh and 
American, informers from private motives are 
juilly odious ; from public motives rclpefted* 
Every crime, however high, may be proiecuted 
and punifhed : the grand inqueft of the nacionbe* 
comes accufer againfl thofe in high places ; the 
grand inqueft of the counties for ordinary offences. 
No crime can be concealed ; no fi&itious crime 
can be pretended or alledged. Calumny itielf is 
punimable as an offence againft the public, and 
the injured individual may obtain fatisfadtion. It 
is in fuch a government alone that calumny is or 
can be managed upon principles of public fafety 
and private juftice, neither of which can ever be 
generally regarded in any iimple government, and 
mod certainly leaft of all in our author's " Right 
44 Conftitution," or authority in one centre. 

For the proof of thefe obiervations any hiftory 
would ferve; but it will be fufficient to attend to 
thofc anecdotes quoted by our author. In Rome 
" the ten grandees, and ail that fucceeded them in 

" that 

Commonwealth, examined. 44,9 

-" that domineering humour over the people, ever 
44 kept a retinue, well flocked with calumniators 
44 and informers (fuch as we call " Knights of the 
44 Poft" ) to fnap thofe that any way appeared for 
44 the people's liberties. This was their confiant 
4i trade, as it wasalfo of their emperors ." 4fc But 
44 while the people kept their power entire in the 
* 4 fupreme aiFemblies, we read not of Its being 
4i brought into any conftant practice." This 
continued chicanery, in holding out to the people 
of England an idea that the Romans wereever go- 
verned by his 44 Right Conftitution," is really un- 
pardonable : nothing can be more unfair. But 
to pafs this over : Are the examples of Caffius, 
Melius, Manlius, Coriolanus, the Gracchi, ib foon 
, forgot? The Scipios indeed he recol lefts. Thefe 
calumnies were promoted by the fenate, in fome 
inftances, it is true ; but by the people too in all : 
at lead the people were made the dupes and tools ; 
which is fuificient to make the examples rtrong 
proofs againfi our author. 

The fame profligacy of a party fpirit appears in 
his example of Athens. 44 By their lofty and un- 
4fc worthy carriage, they flirred up the people's fear 
44 and jcaloufy fo far, as to queflion and lend di- 
44 vers of them into banifhment ; as Alcibiades, 
* r Themiftocles,and others." Why are Ariftides, 
Miltiadcs, Socrates, and Phocion forgotten ? Thefe 
would have been too grofsly againfl him, and 
warnings too terrible againit his paltry fyPem, 
44 Whereas, if the rules of a free ftate had been 
44 punctually obferved, by preferving a difcreet 
44 revolution of powers, and an equability or mo- 
' 4 derate ftate of particular perfons, there had been 
4t no occafion of encroachment on one part, or of 
44 fear on the other." That is to lay, if the rules 
of a free flate had been obferved in a city where 
VOL. III. 3 M no 

45 hc right Conftitution of a 

no fuch rule of a free ftate exifted; and an eqna* 
bility and moderation maintained, of which there 
is no example in hiftory, and which is totally im- 
practicable ; then there would have been no en- 
croachment or fear: or, in other words, if all men 
had been wife and virtuous, and there had been 
no need of government at all, then there would 
have been no democratical tyranny, and, he might 
add, monarchical or ariftocratical. It isbdrlefque 
-to talk of a rule of a free (late, which never was, 
-and every man of common fenfe knows never can 
be, a rule of a free ftate. Our conclufion muft 
be diie&ly contrary to that of our author; viz. 
the calumniation under his " Right Conftiiution" 
muil be more frequent, intolerable, and remidilefs, 
than under any form of tyranny, whether monar- 
chical or ariftocratical. The Englifh eonftitution 
furniflies rules, means, and judicatures, in their 
grand and petit juries, and in impeachments of the 
commons before the lords, fo equitable and ad- 
mirable, that it is very unaccountable that any 
man mould think of preferring to it a fimple de- 
mocracy of a (ingle reprefentative affembly, where 
it is fo obvious that every man's reputation, liberty, 
property, and life, muft be in conftant danger of 
accufations by and before an omnipotent party. 

** The liberty of accufation by the people be- 
" fore their fupreme affemblies," cannot mean 
that the whole people fliould join in fuch accufa- 
tion : this is impoflible ; every man then muft 
have liberty to accufe whom he will. The houfe 
will confider who is the'accufer, and who the ac- 
cufed ; and members in the houfe will confider 
how their parties are likely to be affected by the 
fentence, more than truth or juftice. An accufer, 
who is ufeful to the majority, will rarely be pu- 
nifhed, let his accufation be ever fo falfe or mali- 

."' *'\ cious : 

Commonwealth^ examined. 4.51 

cions : one of the minority will never be heard, 
though his complaint be ever fo true. k4 The 
44 liberty of accufation is, indeed, a thing fo ef- 
44 fentially neceffary for the prefervation of acorn - 
i4 munity, that there is no poflibility of having 
44 perfons kept accountable without it ; and, by 
44 confequence, no fecurity of life and eftate, li- 
44 berty and property. 4 Maxime intereft reipub. 
44 libertatis ut libere poffis civem aliquem accu- 
44 fare ;' it mod highly concerns the freedom of a 
44 commonwealth, that the people have liberty of 
A4 accufing any perfonswhatfoever." Thus far we 
agree, as well as in the opinion, that a great evil 
in governments, limply monarchical or ariftocrati- 
cal, is the want of fuch liberty. But fimple de- 
mocracy has in it as great an evil in this refpecl ; 
for the minority have too little liberty of accufa- 
tion, in proportion as the majority have too 
much : it is therefore in a mixed government 
only where an equal liberty can be prefer ved to 
all, without being too great in any. It is agreed 
further to be a means, and the only means, of ex - 
tinguiftiing jealouflcs and emulations, diicontents 
and fury, in the people, when they can bring to 
.account their oppreffors ; and the inftances of the 
Decemviri and Coriolanns are properly enough 
produced : the ftory from Florence too, of one 
who occafioned fuch calamities for want of this 
liberty of accufation, by which he might have 
been taken down ; and the cafe of Soderino, who 
drove the people to call in the Spaniards to fup- 
prefs him for want of fuch a power. To thefe 
examples there is no objection, nor to the doctrine 
they convey, viz. that the liberty of accufation 
prevents the people very often from running in 
rage and defpair to internal violence or foreign al. 
liancc, and in both cafes to arms. But the concltj. 

fio n 

45 2 he ngh t Ccnftitu tion of a 

\\ ~ 

fion upon the whole muft be, that this objection 
ftands in full force againft our author's plan, and 
wholly unanfwered. There is no fecnrity for the 
moft wealthy and powerful fort of men among 
the minority ; they will be conflantly expofed to 
ruin by falfe accufations. 

The fixth objection is, " that people by nature 
44 are fadtions, inconflant, and ungrateful." In 
anfwer to the charge of faction, he repeats his 
pofitions under the fourth reafon; and his exam- 
ples of Pompey and Csefar ; Guelphs and Ghibel- 
lines in Italy ; the families of Orleans and Bur- 
gundy in France ; the Guifians ; York and Lan- 
cafter, Sec. we muft refer to our obfervations n 
the fourth reafon. 

Inconflancy he allows to be a characteriftic of 
the people who are debauched, and in a corrupted 
flate of a common wealth, when degenerated from 
its true principles, as in Athens, Rome, Florence. 
44 But yet in Rome you may fee as pregnant in- 
44 fiances of that people's conflancy, as of any fort 
44 of men whatfoever; for they continued con- 
44 ftant, irreconcileable enemies to all tyranny in 
44 general, and kingly power in particular. In 
*- like manner, when they had once gotten their 
44 fuccellive afFemblies, they remained fo firm and 
44 fliffto uphold them : in making their elections, 
44 too, they could never be perfuaded to chooie a 
44 known infamous, vicious, or unworthy fellow. 
44 fb that they leldom or never erred in the choice 
44 of their tribunes and other offices. But it has 
44 ever been otherwife under kings and ftand- 
44 ing powers." Here he muft mean fimple mo- 
narchies and ariftocracies, becaufe hediflinguimes 
the cafe from Rome, which was a mixed govern- 
ment. 44 Standing powers ufually ran into all 

44 the 

Commonwealth, examined, 

*' the extremes of inconftancy upon every new pro- 
" je&, petty humour, and occafion; fhifted princi- 
" pies every moon ; caihiered all oaths, protefla- 
44 tions, promifes, and engagements, and blotted 
" out the memory of them with a wet finger," he 
inftances in Charles the firft. If we fpeak impar- 
tially upon this head, we muft fay that all men 
are alike ; that fimple governments are equally in- 
conftant, as far as they partake of the fame hu- 
man nature. Kings have been as inconftant as any 
men; fo have fimple fenates. Simple democracies 
have never been tried ; but, if we reafon from their 
nature, we fhall conclude, that they are more in- 
conflant than either, becaufe the refult depending 
on the majority of votes, the difficulty and im- 
poffibility of afTembling equal numbers at all 
times, iricreafes the chances of change and incon- 
ftancy. The ignorance of multitudes who compofe 
a part of the people, is another caufe: fo that if a 
difference muft be allowed, it muft be confefled 
that fimple democracy is the leafl conflant. But 
a mixed government produces and neceflitates 
conftancy in all its parts ; the king ffiuft be con- 
flant, to preferve his prerogatives ; the fenate muft 
be conflant, to preferve their mare; and the houfe 
theirs : neither can go beyond its line, without 
being called back by the other. The legiflative 
mufl be con (Ian t to p'referve its rights, and the 
executive for the fame end : the judicial too muft 
be conflant to the laws, which alone can fcreen it 
from the refentment and encroachment of one or 
other of the three branches in the legiflature. It 
is to this univerfal vigilance and conftancy, which 
fuch a conftitution renders neceflary and unavoid- 
able, that the laws owe their perpetual fuperiori- 
ty, and are able to make kings, nobles, and com- 
moners, miniflers ofilate and religion, and judges 


454 The right Conftitution of a 

too, bow with reverence to its decifions : to this 
conftancy, therefore, is due that delightful tran- 
quillity of mind, arifing from a fenfe of perfect 
fecurity in the protection of known laws, for the 
enjoyment of life, liberty, honour, reputation, 
and property. 44 Ingratitude has been much 
44 charged upon this form." C4 In Athens and 
44 Rome, unhandfome returns were made to wo'r- 
44 thy perfons, who had done high fervices A.1- 
44 cibiades, Themiftocles, Phocion, Miltiades, Ca- 
44 millus, Coriolanus, and both the Scipios, the 
44 caufeof whofe misfortunes is defcribed, by Plu- 
44 tarch and Livy , to be their own lofty and unwary 
44 carriage, which excited the people's fear and 
44 jealoufy. The Scipios were moft to be pi- 
44 tied, becaufe the nobles, not the people, dif- 
44 obliged them ; as for Camillus and Goriolanus, 
44 theydeferved whatever befel them, becaufe they 
44 maligned and hated the people." All this is 
tolerably juft. Our author proceeds : 44 Thishu- 
44 moiir, however, is highly commended by lonne, 
44 as a fign of a commonwealth's being in pure 
44 and perfect health, when the people are thus ac- 
44 tive, zealous, and jealous, in behalf of their 
44 liberties, that will permit no fuch growth of 
44 power as may endanger it." Yet he adds, with 
great truth, " that the people have been fb far 
44 from ingratitude, that they have always been 
X4 exceflive in their rewards and honours to fuch 
44 men as deferved any way of the public, while 
44 they conformed themfelves to rules, and kept 
**. in a pofture fuitable to liberty. Witnefs their 
** confecrations of ftatues, incenfe, facrifices, and 
" crowns of laurel, enrolling fuch men in the num- 
44 ber of their deities. The crime of ingratitude 
^ cannot, in any peculiar manner, be faftened upon 
** the people." This is very juft ; the people arc 


Commonwealth, examined. 

wo more ungrateful than kings or fenates, nor 
more jealous ; and the inftances from republics, 
of apparent ingratitude, are not fair proofs. They 
commonly have arifen from party ; and the ill- 
treatment of deferving men has been the work 
of intrigues of the ariftocratical and monarchical 
parts of thefe communities, oftener than of the 
people themfelvcs. The jealoufy and envy of 
commanders, and leading fenators and patricians, 
have plotted with the people, fomented theifi pre- 
judices, inflamed their paflions, and mifreprefented 
by falfe reports, until fuch points have been 
carried. There is another thing too to be confi- 
dered : the -real merit of public men is rarely 
fully known and impartially confidered ; empi* 
ricifm is pralifed to an altoniming degree by 
fonie, even in the purefl times. Ariflides and 
Themiftocles, Ca^far and Cato, are not upon an 
equal footing ; but when men ariie, who to real 
fervices add the arts of political empiricifm, 
conform to the errors of the people, comply with 
their prejudices^ gain their hearts, and excite 
their enthufiafrn, then their gratitude is a conta- 
gion ; it is a whirlwind ; it is infinitely worle to 
the public than their ingratitude, or than the in- 
gratitude of kings or nobles. Our author pro- 
duces, as inftances f the ingratitude of princes 
44 Alexander hated Antipater and Parmcnio, and 
44 put the latter to death ; Vcfpaiian caihiered the 
46 meritorious Antqnies; the king of Portugal, 
44 Alphonfus Albuquerque ; Ferdinand of Arra- 
fc4 gon, Confalvus the Great ; Henry the Seventh, 
44 Stanley, of the .houfe of 4 Derby, who pnt the 
* 4 crown upon his head ; Sylla, his iniiruments ; 
44 Auguftus, Cicero;" and, he might have added, 
many thoufands of others. After all, joftice and 
found policy ought to be the ruie and roealure of 


45 6 The right Conftitution of a 

rewards and punifhments, not any vague fenfation 
of gratitude or jealoufy. Every fimple govern- 
ment, and every unbalanced mixture, mufl pro- 
duce frequent inftances, not only of ingratitude, 
but of injuflice and bad policy, in the article of 
rewards and punifhments ; but in a mixed govern- 
ment, effe&ually balanced, it is rarely poifible 
that real fervice, merit, ai?:l virtue, ihould go un- 
rewarded. If the king is difpofed to be ungrate- 
ful, the lords and commons will not fufFcr it ; if 
the commons are ungrateful, the king and lords 
will do juftice; if the lords are faulty, the king 
and commons will fet all right. The chances of 
ingratitude, therefore, in fueh a government are 
much lefs, and the aflurance of a juft recompence 
ofrewa?*d is much greater, while the danger of 
royal favour! tifm and popular extravagance are 
wholly avoided. As there is nothing ot more ef- 
fential importance to the prefervation of liberty,, 
the promotion of profperity, and the exaltation of 
the dignity and grandeur of a ftate, than a juft, ge- 
nerous, and fteady rule of policy in rewards and 
punifhments, it muft, with all humble fubmiilion r 
be prefumed, that a mixed government has an 
infinite advantage of all others in this relpedt. 
But of all imaginable governments, that of one 
afTembly is the worft ; for every man of the mi- 
nority will be fure of ingratitude and injuflice, let 
his fervice be what it will ; nay, he will be in 
danger of punifhment for his merit ; and every 
man of the majority will be fafe againft punifh- 
mentfor many mifderneanors, and fure of exceffive 
rewards for every trifling fervice. We may fair- 
ly conclude, upon the whole, that none of thefe 
fix objections ftand againft a free government of 
three branches ; but every one of them in full 
force againft a fingle fovereign afTembly, 

" To 


u l^o educate the young fry in principles of 
* dill ike and enmity againft kingly government^ 
*'* and enter into an oath of abjuration, to abjure 
" a toleration of kings and kingly power in time 
'*' to come." This rule was made for Charles 
Stuart. Brutus made the Romans fwear, " that 
f4 they never fhouM luffer any man again to reign 
" at Home. The Hollanders abjured Philip, his 
4i family, and all kings, for ever/' Thefe were 
inventions of ariftocratical cunning, and the peo- 
ple were dupes for taking them. A king, mean- 
ing a fmgle perfon vefbed with the whole execu- 
tive, is the only remedy for the people, whenever 
the nobles get the better of them, and are on the 
fcramblefor unlimited power. Let every people 
have a care how they enflave themfelves by fucli 
an oath, or Jay themfelves under the neceility ^f 
committing perjury : let them fwear, if they will, 
never to be governed by an abfolute monarch; 
but even tWs had better be omitted, for there are 
cafes in which an abfolute monarch is a lefs evil 
than a crowd of lawlefs lords. A better oath for 
the common people w^oiild be, never ,to intrufl 
any part of the executive power to a fenate, or, 
-in other words, to the body of the gentlemen. . 

I am, not without apprehenfions that I have not 
made mvfelf fully underflood. The pepple, iii 
all nations, are naturally divided into two forts, 
>the gentlemen and the fimplemen, a word which 
is here, chofen to fignify the common people. By 
gentlemen are not meant the rich or the poor, 
the high-born or the low-born, the induftriousor 
the idle* .but all thole who have received a liberal 
education, an ordinary degree of erudition j,nji- 
beral arts and iciences^ whether by, birth they, t>e 
deicended from magiftratcs and officers of , govern- 
ment, Qr.fv.oirt luiibancJiDen, merchants, media- 

V T oL.IIf. N Hies, 

458 The right Conflitution of a 

nics, or labourers; or whether they be rich or 
poor. We muft neverthelefs remember, that ge- 
nerally thofe who are rich, and defcended from 
families in public life, will have the beft educa- 
tions in arts and fciences, and therefore the gen- 
tlemen will ordinarily, notwithfbanding fome ex- 
ceptions to the rule, be the richer, and born of 
more noted families. By the common people we 
mean labourers, hufbandmen, mechanics, and mer- 
chants in general, who purfue their occupations 
and induflry without any knowledge in liberal 
arts or fciences, or in any thing but their own 
trades or purfuits ; though there may be excep- 
tions to this rule, and individuals may be found 
in each of thefe clafles who may really be gen- 

%, Now it feems to be clear that the gentlemen in 
every country are and ever muft be few in num- 
ber, in comparifon of the fimplemen. If you 
pleafe then, by thedemocratical portion of fociety 
we will underfland the common people as before 
explained ; by the ariftocratical part of the com. 
munity we will underftand the gentlemen : the 
diftin&ions which have been introduced among 
the gentlemen into nobility, greater or lefTer, are 
perfe&ly immaterial to our prefent purpofe ; 
knights, barons, earls, vifcounts, marquiiTes, 
dukes, and even princes and kings, are ftill but 
gentlemen, and the word noble iignifies no 
more than knowable, or confpicuous. But the 
gentlemen are more intelligent and Ikilful, as 
well as generally richer and better connected, and 
therefore have more influence and power than an 
equal number of the common people : there 
is a conftant energy and effort in the minds of 
the former to increafe the advantages they poffefs 
over the latter, and to augment their wealth and 


Commonwealth, examined. 4.59 

influence at their expence. This effort produces 
refentments and jealoufies, contempt, hatred, and 
fear, between the one fort and the other. Indi- 
viduals among the common people endeavour to 
make friends, patrons, and protestors, among the 
gentlemen. This produces parties, divifions, tu- 
mults, and war ; but as the former have moft ad- 
drefs and capacity, they gain more and more con- 
tinually, until they become exhorbitantly rich, and 
the others miferably poor. In this progrefs the 
common people are continually looking up for a 
protestor among the gentlemen, and he who is 
mod able and willing to protect them, acquires 
their confidence. They unite together by their 
feelings, more than their reflections, in augment- 
ing his pqwer, becaufe the more power he has, and 
the lefs tiie gentlemen have, the fafer they are. 
This is a fhort fketch of the hiftory of that pro- 
grefs of paflions and feelings which has produced 
every fimple monarchy in the world ; and, if na- 
ture and its feelings have their courfe without 
reflection, they will produce a fimple monarchy 
for ever. It has been the common people, then, 
and not the gentlemen, who have eftablifhed iim- 
ple monarchies all over the world : the common 
people, againft the gentlemen, eilablifhed a fim- 
ple monarchy in Ca-far at Rome, in the Medici 
at Florence, &c. and are now in danger of doing 
the fame thing in Holland ; and if the Britifli 
conflitution fhould have its euthanalia in fimple 
monarchy, according to the prophecy of Mn 
Hume, it will be effected by the common people, 
to avoid the increafing oppreffions of the gentle- 

If this is the progrefs and courfe of things (and 
who does not know that it is ?) it follows, that it 
is the true intereft aad beft policy of -Ike common 


right Conftitution of a 

people to takeaway from the body of the gentle* 
men all fhare in the diftribution of offices, and ma~ 
nagement of the executive power. Why? Be-. 
caufe if any body of gentlemen have the gift of 
offices, they will diipofe of them among their 
own families, friends, and connexions ; they will 
alfo make ufe of their votes in difpofmg of of- 
fices, to procure themfelves votes in popular elec- J 
tions to th 1 e fenate or other council, or to procure 
themfelves appointments in the executive depart - 
viiient. : It is the true policy of the common peo- 
ple to place the whole executive power in one 
man, to, make him a diftinft order in the ftate, 
from whence arifes an inevitable jealouiy between 
him and the gentlemen ; this forces to be- 
come a father and proteftor of* the common peo- 
ple, and to endeavour always to humble every 
proud afpiring Tenator, or other oiliccr in the 
ilate, who is in danger of acquiring San influence 
too great for the law, or the fpirit of the confli-. 
tutton. This influences him to look for merit a^ 
mong the common people, and to promote from 
.among them fbch as are capable of public employ- 
ments ; fo that the road to preferment is open to 
the common people much more generally and equi- 
tably in fiich a government, than in an arifto.cra- 
cy; or one in which the gentlemen have any fhare 
in appointments to offices. 

From this dedu&ion it follows, that the pre- 
cept of our author, 4i to educate children (of the 
" common people) in principles of diilike and 
4i enmity againil kingly government, and enter 
^ into ^.n oath of abjuration to abjure a toleration 
u of kings and kingly powers," is a mod iniqui- 
^tous and infamous ariilccratical artifice, a Jnofi: 
formal confpiracy againft the rights of mankind, 
and ap-amft that equality 'between the gentlemen 

Commonwealth, examined. 46 

the common people which nature has 
blifhed as a moral right, and law mould ordain 
as a political right, for the prefervation of liberty. 
By kings, and kingly power, is meant, both by 
our author and me, the executive power in a fm- 
gle perfon, American common people are too 
enlightened, it is hoped, ever to fall into fuch an 
hypocrital fnare ; the gentlemen too, it is hoped, 
are too enlightened, as well as too equitable, ever 
to attempt fuch a meafure ; becaufe they muft 
know that the confequence will be, that, after 
fuffering all the evils of contefts and diiTenfions, 
cruelty and oppreffion, from the ariftocratics, the 
common people will perjure themfelves, and fet; 
up an unlimited monarchy inflead of a regal re- 

': .*,; .jio. *..' ' e -* v ' '- " 'fl: ' ;'>& *' r : ".f'-.-iVf?*"' -''si 'VV; ' . "'~'. v 

Thcfecond rule of policy is, " not to fuffer 
M particular perfons to grandife or greaten them-. 
*' {elves more than ordinary ;, for that by the Ro- 
t; mans was called ' affecTtatio regni,' an afpiring 
^ to kingfhip." Melius and Manlius are again 
cited : " The name of the latter was ever after dil- 
44 owned by his whole family, that famous family 
" of the Manlii, and both the name and memory 
" of * him and of his confulnYip were raz,ed out 
44 of all public records by decree of the fenate." 
rlt is certainly aneilential rule in a free govern* 
ment, to fuffer no man to greaten himfelf above 
the law : -but it is impofFible it mould ever be ob- 
fervedina firnple democracy or ariftocracy. What 
might not Manlius have done, if Home had been 
governed by a fingle fovereign alfembly of repre- 
fentatives? It was the ariftocracy that murdered 
Manlius, much againil the will of the democracy, 
fo that the inflance is againfl the author. The 
Orange family in Holland are mentioned too; but 


4.62 The right Conftltution of a 

it is the common people who have fupported that 
family , for their protection againft the ariftocracy. 
It is agreed, however, by many refpe&able wri- 
ters, that the family of Orange have been danger- 
ous in that ftate, becaufe the people have no con- 
ftttutionai mare in the government, and the autho- 
rity exercifed by the ftadtholder is not legally de- 
fined : if the people, therefore, in their anger, 
fhould augment the power of that houfetoo much 
above the ariftocracy, it would be abfolute; but if 
the people fhould expel that houie, they muft fct 
up another, as well as demand a (hare in the legif- 
lature for themfelves, or become (laves, and a prey 
to the ariftocracy. It is a good rule for Holland 
to beware of too great a man ; but it is equally 
nccefTary to beware of five thoufand men, who 
may eafily become too great. But in our author's 
Right Conftitution the obfervance of the rule is 
impoffible. The people, if unreftrained by a ienate 
or a king, will fet up fome one man, and advance 
him to a greatnefs of dignity and authority incon-* 
fiftent with liberty : as foon as any one in fuch a 
government gets the command in chief of an ar- 
my, he has the ftate in his power. The common 
people in Holland would aflift the army in making 
the prince abfolute (if, indeed, the prince would 
accept of a gift that would ruin his country as 
well as his houie) if they were not reft rained by 
a Handing ariftocratical power, which our author 

Nan diurnare imperia ; " not to permit a con- 
44 tinuationof command and authority in thehands 
4t of particular perfons orjfamilies." This rule is 
undoubtedly necefTary to preferve a fimple arifto- 
cracy or democracy ; but it is impracticable in 
both, and therefore it is impracticable to preferve 


Commonwealth, examined. 463 

an ariftocracyor democracy. But this is by no 
means a necemry or proper rule in a well confti- 
tuted free government. Command and authority 
may be continued for any number of years, or for 
life, in the fame hands, without the leaft danger; 
becauic, upon the fmalleft fyrnptom of an inclina- 
tion to abufe his power, he may be difplaced by the 
executive, without danger or inconvenience: but 
in a fimple ariftocracy or democracy he cannot be 
removed at all; the majority will fupport him at 
all events ; or, if they do not, the majority that 
removes him will be fo fmall, that the minority 
who are his friends may often raife convulfions. It 
is a necefTary rule, too, in fuch a mixed government 
as that of Rome, where, in the beft of times, the 
people had an authority nearly equal to that of the 
fenate. Where the mixture is of two powers only, 
and the executive is wholly in one of thern r or 
partly in one, and partly in another, they arc in 
continual danger of the tyranny of a (ingle perfon, 
on account of the frequent difputes between the 
two branches about the exercife of the executive 
and judicial power; but where the executive is in 
one hand, the legiflative in three, and the judicial 
brands different from both, there is rarely, if ever, 
any danger from a continuance of command in 
any one. Livy had good reafon in the Roman 
ftate to fay, " Libert at is magna cuftodia eft, (I 
" magna imperia eiTe non fines, et temporis mo- 
" dus imponatur ;" it is a grand preservative of 
liberty if you do not permit " great powers and 
44 commands to continue- long, and if you limit in 
44 point of time." And to* this purpofe the./Eiiriliaii 
law, if it could have been obferved, would have 
been a good one, * 4 The noble Roman, in the ninth 
44 book, fpoke in character, when he faid, ' Hoc 
44 q.uidem regno ilrnile eft./ and this indeed is like 

** a king- 

4.64. The right Conflitution of a 

" a kingfiiip, that I alone fhould bear this great 
44 office of cenforfhip 4 triennium et fex menfes,' 
44 three years and fix months, contrary to the jE 
44 Jian law." Livy too (peaks in character, as a 
good citizen of an ariftocratical government, when 
in his third book he fpeaks of a monftrous bufi- 
nefs, that the ides of May were come (" which 
" was the time of their year's choice") and yet 
44 no new ekftion appointed : id vero regnumhaud 
'* dubie videre,deploratur in perpetuum libertas;" 
44 it without doubt feems noother than a kingdom* 
44 and liberty is loft for ever." It was no doubt 
44 treafon for any man to hold that high office of 
" the didtatorfliip in his hand beyond fix months. 
44 Cicero's Epiftles to Atticus concerning Csefar 
" contain notable fluff to this purpofe. The care 
44 of that people in not permitting any man to bear 
44 the fame office twice together," was all in cha- 
racter, becauie continuance in high office con- 
flantly expofed the ftate and Conftitution to the 
danger of being overturned, and converted into an 
abfolute monarchy. In this conflitution too, in 
confequence of the checks between the fenate, the 
tribunes, and the people, there was fome chance 
for having this law obfervedj but an jEmilian h 
in our author's 44 Right Conftitution," would 
made to no purpofe; it would be fet aflde, with- 
out ceremony, when nothing but a vote of an all- 
powerful majority would be wanting to fet it at 
defiance : but in a mixed Conftitution of three 
branches, fuch a law, if made, would be punctu- 
ally executed* much more exactly and certainly 
than in the Roman conftitutio.n ; but in fuch a 
Conftitution fuch a law would be unneceflary, aS 
no danger can a rife from the continuance of any 
general or admiral in command. . The fame rea- 
foning is applicable to the. free ftates of Greece* 


Cvmmtin'wealth, examined, 

where, Ariftotle tells ns, "this rule was ob- 
*' ferved." The fpeech of Gincinnatus to the peo- 
ple, to perfuade them to let him lay down his 
command, now the time was come, though the 
enemy was almoft at the gates^ and never more 
need, than at that time, of his valour and prudence, 
is a terrible example againft our author's fyftem : 
for, though " no perfuafion would ferve the turn, 
44 refign he would, telling them there would be 
* 4 more danger to the ftate in prolonging his pow- 
44 er than from the enemy > fince it might prove 
* ; a pernicious precedent to the Roman freedom;" 
yet, as no more than two or three fuch characters 
as Cincinnatus appeared in feven hundred years, a 
(latefman would be mad who mould place the ex- 
iftence of his form of government upon the pre- 
fumption that a fucceffion of characters fo difinte- 
refted would appear to refill the people themfelves 
in their defire to violate a law. If the people at 
that period could forget a rule fo efTential to their 
fafety, what are we to expecl: when they, and their 
idols too, are more corrupt ? " M. Rutilius Cen- 
" forinus, although he too made a fpeech again!! 
44 it, gave way to the people, when they forced 
" him to undergo the office of cenfor twice toge- 
44 ther, contrary to the intent and practice of their 
" ancefcors, and accepted it upon this condition, 
" that a law might pafs againft the title in that 
" and other officers, left it fhould be drawn into 
44 precedent in time to come." But our author 
all along miftakes the fpirit of this rule ; it was 
sn ariftocratical regulation altogether: it was the 
ienate and patricians who procured it to be ob- 
ferved, from an ariftocratical motive and princi- 
ple; from a jealoufy of the people on one fide, and 
of kingly power on the other. It is the fame fpirit 
which precipitated Caffius and Maivlins from the 
VOL. III. 30 rock, 

466 The right Conftitution of a 

rock, and put $!elius to death without ceremony. 
The people, or their reprefentatives, if uncon- 
trouled, would not probably ever make fuch a law ; 
if they did, they woukl never long obferve it : 
the people would not fivffer it to be much or long 
obferved in Rome, notwithftanding all the exer- 
tions of the ariftocracy. The times foon came when 
Cincinnatus's and Cenforinus's were not found to 
refufe power and office offered them againft law, 
any more than Horatii and Valerii were found to 
poflpone their private fortune to plebeian liberty. 
Even the Grecian arHtocracies could not obferve 
this rule. It was a law of Sparta that no man 
fhould be twice admiral ; but Lyfander had ad- 
drcfs enough to perfuade his countrymen to give 
the title to Aratus, but the real command to him- 
felf, under the title of vice-admiral. Even in that 
which was in appearance the moft democratical 
ftate of Greece, Achaia, Aratus had the real power 
and command when he was out of place; as much 
as when he was in. Our author miftakes too the 
fpirit of the law, " that no tribune mould be con- 
" tinned two years together." This law was a 
mere ariftocratical artifice, to weaken the influ- 
ence of the tribunes and their conflitnents, by pre- 
venting them from acquiring confidence, fkill, and 
influence, by experience. If the people had un- 
derflood their own caufe, they would have infill- 
ed upon the privilege of choofing the fame tribune 
as long as they approved his condub 

" Not to let two of one family to bear offices of 
f ' high truft at one time, nor to permit a continua- 
" tion of great powers in any one family." This 
rule is indifpenfible in ariftocracies, where the fo- 
vereignty is in continual danger from individuals of 
great influence and powerful connections, where a 


Commonwealth, examined. 4.67 

jealoufy of popular men and meafures muft be con- 
ftantly kept up to its higheft pitch. The Roman 
rule, " Ne duo vel plures ex una familia magnos 
* ; magiftratus gerant eodem tempore, let not two 
" or more of one family bear great offices at the 
" fame time ;" and the other, " Ne magna 5m- 
" peria ab una familia prefer ibantur, let not great 
" commands bje prefer ibed or continued in one 
" family;" were neceflary ariftocratical rules, be- 
caufe, as the patricians were ajways afraid of the 
people, who were continually urging for more 
power,a very powerful family, by joining with the 
people, might have changed the conftitution. It 
is a wife and ufeful rule in general in all govern- 
ments; but in a fimple democracy, though it may 
be more necefTary than in any other form, it is al- 
ways impracticable ; the people will fet it afide 
whenever they pleafe, and will always be fure to 
,depart from it in favour of a favourite man or fa- 
mily : but in a mixed conftitution of three branch- 
es there is lefs neceflity of obferving the rule with 
ftridtnefs, and more facility of obferving it when 
necefTary. It is very doubtful whether the confti- 
tution of Rome could have been longer preferved, 
if Cicero had joined Antony inftead of Oclavius. 
The people were now uncontrolled, and the fe- 
nate had loft its authority ; and the people behav- 
ed as they always do, when they pretend to exer- 
cife the whole executive and legislative power ; 
that is, they fet up immediately one man and one 
family for an emperor, in cffcft, fometimes refpetf:- 
ing ancient forms at firft, and fometimes rejecting 
them altogether. But of ail rules, this is the leaft 
poffible to perfuade them to obferve in fuch a cafe. 
The Florentine family of the Medici were fet up 
jn this manner by the people, who, as Machiavei 
informs us, aimed at all power, and a fimple de- 
mocracy ; 

468 The right Conftitution of a 

mocracy ; and in fuch cafes " Cofimus is always 
'*- eafily admitted to fucceed his coufin Alexan- 
" der." It is not to be wondered at, that " Pom- 
" perns Columba flood up in the conclave, and 
" (hewed them how dangerous and prejudicial it 
" mufl of neceffity prove to the liberties of Italy; 
" that the popedom mould be continued in one 
** houfe, in the hands of two brothers, one after 
46 another;" but if the election of a pope had 
depended upon the people of Florence, Julian 
de Medicis would have been chofen to fucceed 
his brother, though Columba had harangued 
them with ever fo much eloquence againfb it. A 
conclave of cardinals, and a body of people in a 
city, are very different electors. The continua- 
tion of power in the houfe of Orange is another 
inftance in point ; that family have been conti- 
nued in power by the will of the people, very often 
expreffed in outrageous fury, and very often much 
againfl the inclination of the ariftocracy. 

In every nation, under every form of govern- 
ment, public affairs were always managed by a 
very fmall number of families, compared with 
the whole number. In a fimple democracy they 
will ever be conducted by the fmalleft number of 
all ; the people will confer all upon a very few fa- 
milies at firfl, and upon one alone at length. 
" The Roman fenate carried all by families; fo 
u does the fenate of Venice;" but the number is 
greater than will ever be intrufled by a people 
who exercife the whole executive and legiflative 
power in one affembly. But the largeft number 
of families that can be introduced into aftual con- 
fidence and fervice, in any combination of the 
powers of fociety, is in the compofition of three 
branches; becaufe here as many families are em- 
ployed to reprefent the people by numbers, as to 


Commonwealth, examined. 4.69 

reprefent property in the fenate ; and it is in fuch 
a form alone that fo many families may be em- 
ployed without confufion and fedition. Here 
then this rule of policy may be befl obferved, not 
to let two or more, unneceflarily, bear high offices 
at once ; or, if there are feveral of a family whofe 
merit is acknowledged, they may be employed 
without the fmalleft danger. 

" To hold up the majefty and authority of their 
44 fuifrages or votes entire, in their fenators or 
44 fupreme afTemblies ;" or, in other words, " to 
*' maintain the free fuffrages of fenates or people, 
44 untainted with the influence or mixture of any 
44 commanding power ; for if this were not fe- 
44 cured from controul or influence of any other 
u power, then a&um erat de Jibertate." To 
maintain the independence and integrity of fuf- 
frages, without corruption from flattery, artifice, 
bribes, or fear, is no doubt a good rule ; but if the 
author here means that the power of the people 
mould be abfolute, and without controul from a 
fenate or a firft executive magiftratc, it is beg- 
ging the queflion, and, what is more, it is noto- 
rioufly falfe and definitive. 

44 So long," fays our author, 44 as the Roman 
u people kept up their credit and authority as 
44 facred, in their tribunes and fupreme afTembiies, 
44 fo long they continued really free." But how 
long was this ? While they were only defending 
themfelves from the tyranny of the lenate ; while 
they were greatly inferior to thefenate in power ; 
while they were increaiing their own power by 
obtaining the office of tribune, by obtaining li- 
berty to marry into patrician families, to be ap- 
pointed ediles,confuls, cenfors,&c. : in Ihort, while 
their power was inferior to that of the fenate and 


4,7 o The right Conflitution of a. 

controulable by it, they enjoyed as much liberty 
as ever was enjoyed under that government; but 
the moment they obtained an equality of power 
with the fenate, they began to exercife more than 
their hair', and tp give it to their idols. ' When, 
44 by their own negleft they gave Sylla, amd his 
44 party in the fenate, an opportunity of power to 
44 curb them, then their fuffrages (once efteemed 
44 (acred) were trodden under foot; for immedi- 
44 ately after they came to debate and ad but by 
* 4 courteiy, the authority left being by Sylla, after 
44 the expiration of his diftatorfhip, in the hands 
44 of the (landing fenate, fb that it could never 
44 after be regained by the people. Caefar, when 
44 he marched to Rome, deprived them alfo of 
44 the authority of their fuffrages ; only in a for- 
44 mal way made ufe of them ; and fo, under a 
44 (hadow of legality, he affumed that power unto 
44 himfelf, which they durft not deny him." Our 
author is never weary of producing anecdotes and 
examples from hiftory, which prove his own fyftem 
to be infallibly deftruftive of liberty. It is a mi- 
ierable confolation to a virtuous citizen, who has 
loft his liberty, to tell him that he has loft it " by 
44 the neglect and fault of his fellow-citizens in 
44 general;" it is the moft humiliating anddefpe- 
rate flavery of all. If he had loft it by the fimple 
ufurpation of a {ingle man or fenate, without the 
fault of the people (if that indeed is a poffible or 
fuppofeable cafe) he might ftill entertain a hope 
of regaining it ; but when we are told that a peo- 
ple loft their liberty by a neglect or fault that we? 
kuow they will alwayscommit whenuncontrouled, 
is it not a conclufive argument for providing in 
the conftitution an effectual controul ? When the 
people exercife all powers in (ingle aflemblies, we 
know that the power of Sylla and Gaefar will a]-; 


tl ammonia e a It h, examined. 

mix in, and influence and controul : ft is im- 
poilible, then, that in our author's form of go- 
vernment this fifth rule of policy ever fhould be 
obferved, or the fuffrages kept pure and upright. 
44 Juil in the fame manner dealt Cofmus in the 
44 Florentine fenate : he made nfe of their fuf- 
" frages, but he had fo played his cards before- 
44 hand, that they durft not but yield to his ambiv 
44 tion. So Tiberius firft brought the fuffrages 
44 of the ienate at his own devotion, that they 
44 durfl not but confent to his eftablifhment, and 
" then b ordered the matter that he might feem 
" to do nothing, not only without their confent, 
44 hut to be forced to accept the empire by their 
*' in treaty ; fo that you fee there was an empire in 
44 effect long before it was declared in formality." 
Will duplicity be lefs practicable, or lefs com- 
mon, in an aflembly of the people than in a fe- 
nate ? May not an empire or defpotifm in effect, 
though democratical in form, be lefs difficult to 
accomplifh than even under an ariflocratical form? 
Empire of particular men will exift in effect un- 
der every fimple form, and every unequal mix- 
ture : an empire of laws in reality can be main- 
tained only in an equal mixture of all three. 

44 That the people be continually trained up in 
44 the exercife of arms, and the militia lodged only 
44 in the people's hands, or that part of them 
*' which are moft firm to the interefl of liberty, 
44 that fo the power may reft fully in the difpo- 
44 fition ot their fupreme afTemblies." The limi- 
tation to 4i that part moft firm to the intereft of 
" liberty," was inferted here, no doubt to referve 
the right of difarming all the friends of Charles 
Stuart, the nobles and bifhops. Without flopping 
to enquire into the jnflice, policy, or neceffity of 


4. 7 2 The right Conftitu tion of (t 

this, the rule in general is excellent : all the 
confequences that our author draws from it, how- 
ever cannot be admitted. One coniequence was, 
according to him " that nothing could at any 
4fc time be impofed upon the people but by their 
44 confent," that is, by the confent of themfelves, 
44 or of fuch as were by them intruded. As Arif- 
44 totle tells us, in his fourth book of Politics, the 
44 Grecian dates ever had Ipecial care to place the 
44 ufe and exercife of arms in the people, becaufe 
44 the commonwealth is theirs who hold the arms : 
44 the fword and fovereignty ever walk hand in 
44 hand together." This is perfectly jud. "Rome, 
44 and the territories about it, were trained up 
44 perpetually in arms, and the whole common- 
44 wealth, by this means, became one formal mi- 
44 litia. There was no difference in order be- 
44 tween the citizen, the hufbandman, and the 
44 foldicr." This was the " ufual courfe, even 
44 before they had gained their tribunes and af- 
44 femblies; that is, in the infancy of the fenate, 
44 immediately after the expulfion of their kings." 
But why does our author difguife that it was the 
fame under the kings? This is the truth; and 
it is not honed to conceal it here. In the times 
of Tarquin, even, we find no danding army, 
44 not any form of foldiery ;.' " nor do we find, 
44 that in after times they permitted a depofition 
44 of the arms of the commonwealth in any other 
44 way, till their empire increafing, neceffity con- 
44 drained them to eredl a continued flipendiary 
44 foldiery abroad, in foreign parts, either for the 
" holding or winning of provinces." Thus we 
have the truth from himfelf ; the whole people 
were a militia under the kings, under the fenate, 
and after the fenate's authority was tempered by 
popular tribunes and afTemblies ; but after the 


examined. 473 

people acquired power, equal at leaft, if not fupe- 
rior to the fenate, then 44 forces were kept up, 
44 the ambition of Cinna, the horrid tyranny of 
44 Sylla, and the infolence of Marius, and the 
" felf ends of divers other leaders, both before 
44 and after them, filled all Italy with tragedies, 
44 and the world with wonder." Is not this an ar- 
gument for the power of kings and fenates, rather 
-than the uncozitroulable power of the people,, when 
it is confefTed that the two firft uied it wifely, and 
the laft pernicioufly ? The truth is, as he faid be- 
fore, 4i the fword arid fovereignty go together." 
While the fovereignty was in 'the fenate under 
kings, the militia obeyed the orders of the fenate 
given out by the kings ; while the fovereignty was 
-in the fenate, under theconfuls, the militia obey- 
ed the orders of the fenate given out by confuls ; 
but when the fovereignty was loft by the fenate, 
and gained by the people, the militia was neg- 
le&ed, a {landing army let up, and obeyed the 
orders of the popular idols. 44 The people, fee- 
44 ing what miiery they had brought upon them- 
" felves, by keeping their armies within the 
44 bowels of Italy, pafled a law to prevent it, and 
46 to employ them abroad, or at a convenient dif- 
44 tance: the lav/ was, that if any general march - 
<4 ed over the river Rubicon, he fliould be de- 
44 clared a public enemy ;" and in the paffage of 
that river this following infcription 44 was ere&- 
46 ed, to put the men of arms in mind of their du- 
44 ty: 4 Imperator,fivemiles,fivetyrannusarmatus 
44 quifque, iiftito v^xillum, armaquc deponito, nee 
44 citra hnnc amnem trajicito ;' general, or fol- 
44 dier, or tyrant in arms, whofoever thou be, 
44 ftand, quit thy ftandard, and lay afide thy arms, 
4i or elfe crofs not this river." But to what pur- 
pofe was the law ? Cx-far knew the people now to 
VOL. III. 3 P b e 

4.74. ^ he right Conftitution of a 

be fovereign, without controul of the fenate, and 
that he had the confidence both of them and his 
army, and caft the die, and erected " pra?torian 
" bands, inftead of a public militia; and was fol- 
44 lowed in it by his fucceffors, by the Grand Sig- 
44 nior, by Cofmus the firft great duke of Tuf- 
44 cany, by the Mufcovite, the Ruffian, the Tar- 
44 tar, by the French," and, he might have added, 
by all Europe, who by that means are all abfo- 
lute, excepting England, becaule the late king 
Charles I. who attempted it, did not fucceed ; and 
becaule our author's 44 Right Conftitution of a 
Commonwealth" did not fucceed: if it had, Oliver 
Cromwell and his defcendants would have been 
emperors of Old England as the Caefars were of 
Old Rome. The militia and fovereignty are in- 
feparable. In the Englifli conftitution, if the 
whole nation were a militia, there would be a mi- 
litia to defend the crown, the lords, or the com- 
mons, if either were attacked : the crown, though 
it commands them, has no power to ufe them im- 
properly, becaufe it cannot pay or fubfift them 
without the confent of the lords and commons ; 
but if the militia are to obey a fovereignty in a 
flngle afTembly, it is commanded, paid, fubfifted, 
and a ftanding army too may be railed-, paid, and 
fubfifted, by the vote of a majority ; the militia 
then muft all obey the fovereign majority, or di- 
vide, and part follow the majority, and part the 1 
minority. This laft caie is civil war ; but until it 
comes to this, the whole militia may be employed 
by the majority in any degree of tyranny and op- 
preffion over the minority. The conftitution 
f ur nifties no refource or remedy ; nothing affords 
a chance of relief but rebellion and civil war : if 
this terminates in favour of the minority, they 
will tyrannise in their turns, exafperated by re- 

Commonwealth, examined. 4.75 

venge, in addition to ambition and avarice ; If the 
majority prevail, their domination becomes more 
cruel, and foon ends in one defpot. It muft be 
made a facred maxim, that the militia obey the 
executive power, which reprefents the whole peo- 
ple in the execution of laws. To fuppofe arms 
in the hands of citizens, to be ufed at individual 
difcretion, except in private felf-defence, or by 
partial orders of towns, counties, or diftrifts of 
a flate, is to demolifh every conftitution, and lay 
the laws proftrate, fo that liberty can be enjoyed 
by no man it is a diffolution of the government. 
The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be 
created, dire&ed, and commanded by the laws, 
and ever for the fupport of the laws. This truth 
is acknowledged by our author, when he fays, 
" The arms of the commonwealth fliould be 
* 4 lodged in the hands of that part of the people 
}' which are firm to its eftablimment." 

" Children mould be educated and inftru&ed hi 
" the principles of -freedom. Ariilotle fpeaks 
" plainly to this purpofe, faying that the inflitu- 
" tion of youth fhould be accommodated to that 
" form of government under which they live ; for- 
f afmuch as it makes exceedingly for the pre- 
" fervation of the prefent government,' whatfb- 
" ever it be." It is unneceiTary to take pains to 
{hew, that the " impreilions men receive in youth 
" are retained in full age, though never fo bad, 
" unlefs they happen, which is very rare, to quit 
" the corrupt principles of education by an ex- 
" cellent reafon and found judgment ;" nor is it 
neceffary to cite the teflimonies tfc of Plutarch or 
,t' liberates," Plato or Solomon, or " Caefar's Coni- 
t' mentaries," nor the examples of " Greece or 
* Gallia ? " and her "Druids." Theexampleofthe 


476 7^* r/g-/2/ Constitution of a 

difficulty the Romans found to eftablifh their 
ariftocracy upon the ruins of monarchy, arifing 
from the education of their youth (even the fons 
of Brutus) in diiferent principles, and the ob- 
ftruftions experienced by the Caefars in eftabJifh- 
ing defpotifm among a people educated under a 
commonwealth, are oppofite enough. Education 
is more indifpenfible, and muft be more general, 
under a free government than any other. In a 
monarchy, the few who are likely to govern muft 
have fome education, but the common people 
in uft be kept in ignorance; in an ariftocracy, the 
nobles fhould be educated, but here it is even 
more necefTary that the common people fhduld be 
ignorant; but in a free government knowledge 
muft be general, and ought to be univerfal. Yet 
fiich is the miferable blindnefs of mankind, that in 
our author's " Right Conftitution" it is very doubt- 
ful whether thepitifuJ motive of favirigtheexpence' 
would not wholly extinguish public education. If 
there were not a fcnate, but the people in one af- 
fcmbly ruled all, it is a ferious queftion, whether 
there is one people upon earth fo generally gene- 
rous and intelligent, as to maintain fchools and 
univerlities at the public expence. The greater 
number of every people are ftill ignorant ; and 
although their leaders might artfully perfuade 
them to a thoufand idle expences, they would not 
be able to perfuade them to this. Education, 
then, muft be iiipported by private munificence ; 
and this iburce, although fulficient to maintain a 
few fchools and a univerilty in a great nation, 
can never be fufficient to maintain fchools in fuf- 
ficient numbers to educate a whole people. Where 
a ienate is preierved, it is always a maxim with 
them to reipecl learning, and educate their own 
families; their example is followed by all others, 



Commonwealth, examined. 4.77 

who are any way in eafy circumdances : in a go- 
vernment of three branches, commoners as well 
as nobles are under a neceflity of educating 
their children, becaufe they hope to be called 
to public fervice, where it is neceflary. In all 
the mixed governments of antiquity, education 
was neceflary, and where the people had a (hare 
it was the mod generally praftifed ; but in a fim- 
ple government it never was general. In Sparta it 
was far from being general ; it was confined to youth 
of family ; fo it was under the aridocracy in Rome : 
and although we have no examples of fimple de- 
mocracy to recur to, we need only coniider, that 
the majority mud be ignorant and poor ; and re- 
colledt the murmurs and oppofition made by num- 
bers of the lowed clafTes, who are often joined for 
fmider purpoies by ibme men of confequence, to 
be convinced, that a general public education ne- 
ver can long ex id in a (imple deinocracy ; the 
dhiginefs, the envy, and malignity of the bafe and 
ignorant, would be flattered by the artful and de- 
figning, and the education of every family left to 
its own expence, that the rich only might have 
their children educated. 

" To ufe liberty with moderation, led it turn 
" to iicentioufnefs ; which, as it is a tyranny it- 
u felf, fo it ufually occafions the corruption and 
" converlion of a free date into monarchical ty- 
" ranny." This is a caution to the people, and 
can do no harm ; but will do little more good, 
than " be ye warmed, and be ye clothed," will 
relieve the wants of the poor. Ledtures, and fer- 
mons, and admonitions, will never be fufficient to 
make all men virtuous ; political, as well as mo- 
ral, writers and exhorters will ipend their ink and 
breath, not in vain, it is to be hoped, but with- 


47 S The right Confl-itutlon of a 

out completely reforming the world, and rcftoring 
innocence and purity to all mankind. How then 
is the tyranny of licentioufnefs to be avoided? By 
the energy of Jaws. And where will be the energy 
of law, when a majority may fet it afide upon 
every queftion? Will not the licentious rich man, 
who has perhaps greater influence in elections for 
his licentioufnefs, be protected from punifhment 
by his party in the houfe ? Will not the continual 
profHtution of judgment in the executive courts, 
to the views of a political party, increafe and pror 
pagate licentioufnefs ? Will not the daily profti- 
tution of the executive power, by bellowing of- 
fices, not for virtue or abilities, but merely for 
party merit, daily increafe licentioufnefs ? Will 
not the appropriation of the public money to 
eleftions increafe the means of debauchery among 
the vicious? Will not the minor party be necei- 
litated to imitate the majority in thefe practices as 
much as pofiible, in order to keep themfelves in 
any hopes? When their hopes are gone, they muft 
join the other fide in worfhipping the fame idols, 
who then become complete defpots. In our au- 
thor's plan of government, then, his caution 
againfl licentioufnefs will be thrown away ; but in 
a mixed government it will be extremely ufeful. 
The laws may be made to concur with fermons, 
and thefcourge, the pillory, and the gallows, may 
enforce the precepts of moral writers : the ma- 
giftrate may be a terror to evil doers, and a praifc 
to them that do well, inflead of being a terror only 
to the minority, and a praife to thofe who op- 
preis them. As cautions and admonitions, there- 
fore, are undoubtedly uieful in a government tru- 
ly free, though idle and trifling in a fimple de- 
mocracy, let us proceed to confider thofe of our 


Commonwealth, examined. 479 

His firft caution under this eighth rule of po- 
licy is/ 4 It is above all things necefTary to avoid 
44 civil diflenfions;" and " the uttermoft remedy 
44 is not to be ufed upon every diftemper or de- 
44 fault of thofe that (hall be in trifled with the 
44 people's power and authority." How charming 
it is for brothers to live in harmony ! The fmalleit 
things increafe by concord ! How many beautiful 
fentiments, in heavenly numbers, from writers fa- 
cred and profane, might be faid or fling in ho- 
nour of peace, concord, harmony, and brotherly 
love ! repetitions of them from age to age have 
been made, no doubt, to the edification and com-* 
fort of many , but, alas! diflenfions flill 
and daily arife, in every nation, city, village, 
I fear, I may add family, in the whole world* 
Something more efficacious, then, than moral fong, 
ingenious fable, philofophic precept, or Chriflian 
ordinance, with reverence be it fpoken, muffc be 
employed infociety or diiTenfions will (till ravage 
and defolate the world. In a fifnple democracy 
the citizens will not all think alike ; various fyi- 
tems of policy will be approved by different per- 
fons ; parties will be formed, even with the befl 
intentions, and from the pureft motives ; others 
will be formed from private views and from bafe 
motives : the majority mufl decide, and, to ob- 
tain this, the good will be obliged to unite with 
the bad, and probably there will be no circle or 
combination, no club or party in the houfe, but 
will becompofed partly ofdifinterefled men and 
partly by intercfted ones, partly by the virtuous, 
and partly by the vicious; honeit men and knaves, 
wife men and fools; will be kneaded together 
in every mafs., Out of the colliiions of thefe 
diflentions unavoidably grow, and therefore fome 
provi-fion mud be made to decide them. An up- 

4.80 fhe right Conftitution of a 

right independent tribunal, to judge of contro- 
verfies, is indifpenfible ; and an upright, inde- 
pendent, judiciary tribunal, in a fl mole democracy, 
is impoflible. The judges cannot hold the : r com- 
miffions but durante bene placito of the majority ; 
if a law is macic, that their coromiffions {hall be 
quamdiu fe bene gefTerint, this iray be repealed 
whenever the majority will, and v without repealing 
it, the majority only are to judge when the judges 
behave amifs, and therefore have them always at 
mercy. When difputes arife between the rich and 
poor, the higher and the lower dalfes. the majo- 
rity in the houfe muft decide them ; there is no 
portability, therefore, of having any fixed rule to 
fettle difputes and compofe contentions : but in 
a mixed government the judges cannot be dif- 
placed but by the concurrence of two branches, 
who are jealous of each other, and can agree in 
nothing but juflice ; the houfe mutt accufe, and 
the lenate condemn ; this cannot be without a 
formal trial, and a full defence. In the other a 
judge may be removed, or condemned to infamy, 
without any defence, or hearing, or trial. This 
part of our author's caution, then, is vain, ufelefs, 
and idle, in his own form of government, but 
wife, juft, and excellent, in a government pro- 
perly mixed : fuch cautions are provided by the 
conflitution itfelf, that civil diffeniionscanfcarcely 
ever arife ; or, if they do, may be eafily com- 

The other part of the caution, " that the ut- 
*' termofi remedy, is not to be ufed upon every 
" diflemper or default of thofe that fhall be in- 
" trufled with the people's power and authority," 
is, in a (imple democracy, totally ufelefs and im- 
pra&icable. There is no other remedy but the 
uttermoft for any diftemper or default : the 


Commonwealth, examined. 4.81 

courts of juflice, being tools of the majority, will 
give no remedy to any of the minority : peti- 
tions and remoriflrances to the houie itfelf, againft 
its own proceedings, will be defpifed or refented ; 
fo that there can be remedy but in 
arms, or by the enormity of tumult, diiTenfion, 
and fedition, which 1 fuppofeare meant by " the 
nttermofl remedy/' 

It is very true, as our author lays, " if one in- 
64 convenience happen in government, thecorrec- 
44 tion or curing of it by violence introcluceth a 
44 thoufand ; and for a man to think civil war or 
44 the fword is a way to be ordinarily ufed for the 
4i recovery of a fick ftate, it were as great a mad- 
44 nefs as to give flrong waters in a high fever ; 
4t or as if he mall let himfeif blood in the heart to 
4i cure the aching of his head." This is perfectly 
jufl, and exprefTed with great beauty, propriety, 
and force : yet it is certain, that a member of the 
minor party, in Needham's and Turgot's govern- 
ment, has no chance for any other remedy ; and 
even this is often as defperate as it is always dread- 
ful, becaufe the weaker mud attack. the ftronger. 
If the only expedient to, "confute the arguments" 
againft fuch a collection of authority in one centre 
be, that fuch a people " give them the lye by a 
4k clifcreet and moderate behaviour in all their pro- 
44 ceedings, and a due reverence of fuch as they 
44 have once elected and made their iuperiors." 
thefe arguments will never be confuted, and the 
caufe of liberty is defperate ; becauie it is as def- 
perate to expect that a majority uncontrouled 
mould behave always dilcrcctly and moderately, 
as to expect that all men will be wife arid good. 

Our author's criterion for determining the ca Vs 
in which the people (in whom 4i all majefly ai^ci 
44 authority fundamentally reiides, being only mi- 

VOL. III. 3 Q, " nifteriall/ 

4.82 The right Conftittition of a 

44 niflerially in their trtiftecs or reprefentatives) 
44 may ufe fharp and quick remedies for the cure 
" of a commonwealth," is very judicious, and has 
been the rule in all Englifh revolutions fince 
44 in fuch cafes only as are manifeft intrench ments 
44 either in defign or in being, by men of power, 
44 upon the fundamentals or efTentials of their li- 
44 berty, without which liberty cannot confift." 
This rule is common to him and Milton, and has 
been adopted by Sidney, Locke, Burnet, Hoad- 
ley : but this rule is ufelefs in a fimple democracy. 
The minority have no chance for juflice in iinaller 
cafes, becaufe every department is in the hands of 
their enemies ; and when the tyranny arrives at 
this laft extremity, they have no hope, for all the 
means, at leaft the mofl of the means, of quick 
and fharp remedies, are in the hands of their ene- 
mies too; fo that the mofl defperate, irremediable, 
and forlorn condition of liberty, is in that very 
collection of all authority into one centre, that our 
author calls 44 a right Conflitution of a Common- 

The inftance brought by our author to illuftrate 
his meaning, proves the fame thing. In that con- 
tention of three hundred years in Rome, between 
the fenate and people, about the divifion of the 
conquered lands, the people made a law that no 
citizen fhould poflefs above five hundred acres of 
land. The fenators cried it was an abridgment of 
liberty ; the people cried it was inconfiftent with 
liberty, that the fenators fhould engrofs too much 
wealth and power. Livy fays, 4k the people were 
44 right, and the fenators wrong, but that both did 
44 ill in making it a ground of civil difTenfion;" for 
the Gracchi, inftead of finding out moderate ex- 
pedients to reduce the fenators to rcafon, proceeded 


Commonwealth, examined. 4.83 

with fuch heat and violence, that the fenate was 
forced to choofe Sylla for their general ; which 
being obferved by the people, they alfo raifed an 
army, and made Marius their general, and herein 
came to a civil war, " which, through fines, banifh- 
44 ment, inhuman cruelties aded on both fides, 
" defeats in the open field, and mafTacres within 
44 the city, coft the beft blood and eftates of the 
44 nobility and commons, and in the end coft 
44 them their liberty, for out of the root of this 
" fprang that civil war between Pompey and Cae- 
i4 far." All this again, which is true and juft, 
(hews that our author had read the Roman hiftory 
with difcernment, and renders it more unaccount- 
able that he mould have perverted fo much good 
fenfe and learning to fupport a fantaftical image, 
that he muft have feen could not endure. The ex- 
ample in queftion (hews more than the impractica- 
bility of liberty in a fimple democracy ; it mews 
the imperfection of a mixture of/two powers, a 
fenate and people. In a iimple democracy, what- 
ever difpute arifes, whether about a divifion of 
lands, or any thing elfe, muft be decided by the 
majority ; and if their decree is unjuft, there is no 
remedy but to appoint Sylla and Marius generals. 
In the Roman mixture of two powers there is no 
remedy to decide the difpute, but to appoint Sylla 
and Marius, Pompey and Caefar ; but when there 
are three branches, after two have offered all pof- 
fible arguments, and cannot agree, the third has 
only to confider which is neareft juftice, and join 
with that, to decide the controversy andreftore the 
peace. It fhall readily be granted, that the civil 
war between Marius and Sylla was needlefs, and 
about an objeft, which did not immediately af- 
fe& the fundamentals of the conftitution ;yet indi- 
reftly it did ; and the faft is, that the ftruggle now 


484 The right Conflitution of a 

began to be ferious which fhould be mailer. It 
was no longer a queflion, whether theienate fhonld 
be reflrained, but whether the people fhould be 
matters. The army under Pompey was neceffary. 
Why? To prevent the people from being mailers, 
and to defend the exiftence of the fenate. The 
people indeed were already matters, and would 
have an idol. The inftance of Charles the Firtt 
may be equally applicable ; but rhofe times afford 
as melancholy an example of a dominatio plebis,as 
.they do a fuccefsful one of refinance to a tyrant. 
But if any one thinks thefe examples and cautions, 
without a balance in the conttitution, will inttruft 
people how to demean themfelves, and avoid licen- 
tioufnefs, tumult, and civil difTention, and in all 
44 the neceflary points of prudence and forbear - 
" ance which ought to take place in refpeft of 
46 fupcriors, till it (hall evidently appear unta a 
" people, that there is a design on foot to furprife 
64 and feize their liberties," he will be miferably 
miilaken. In a fimple democracy they will riie 
in arms, a thoufand times, about common affairs 
of meum and tuum, between the major and minor 
party, before any fundamental attack fhall be 
made on the conflitution. 

44 That in all elections ofmagiflrates, the}?- have 
44 an efpecial eye upon the public, in making 
4fc choice of fuch perfons only as have appeared 
44 mofh eminent and aHve in. the eflablifbmenl 
" 4 and love of freedom." 

But fuppofe any of the people mould love their 
.friends better than liberty, and themfelvcs better 
than the public, as nine tenths of the'people did 
in the purefl moments of Grecian and Roman li- 
berty, even when Ari (tides appeared as a rire phe- 
nomenon in one, and Cincinnatus in the other P tn 


Commonwealth, examined. 485 

fuch cafe they will vote for their friends, though 
royalifts, papifts, malignants, or call them by what 
name you will. In our author's *' Right Confli- 
44 tut ion" many will vote for a treat, many fora 
job, fome for exemption from punifhnient for a 
crime, fome for a monopoly, and fome for the 
promife of an office. This will not be virtuous, 
but how can yon help that? 

44 In the hands of thofe," fays our author, u who 
" have appeared moft eminent and a&ive in the 
44 eftabliflimcnt of freedom, may be fafely placed 
44 the guardianfhip of liberty ; becaufe fuch men 
44 have made the public intereft and their own all 
44 one, and therefore will neither betray nor defert 
44 it in profperity or adverfity." This was mo- 
cleflly beipeaking unlimited confidence for Oliver 
Cromwell and his affociates; and fuch blind, ram 
confidence has fnrrendered the liberties of all na- 
tions : but it is not the language nor the maxim of 
liberty ; her univerfal precept (hould be, trufl not 
to human nature ', -without a confront, ihe ccndutt of 
my caufe. To lay it down 44 as a certain rule, that 
i4 if any perfon be admitted into power that loves 
44 not the commonwealth above all confiderations, 
44 fuch a man is every man's money ; any ftate- 
44 merchant may have him for a fa&or ; and for 
4i good confideration he will often make returns 
44 upon the public intereft, have a ftock going in 
" every "party, and with men of every opinion ; 
44 and, if occalion ferve, truck with the common 
44 enemy and commonwealth both together," is 
perhaps to rely upon a patriotifm that never ex- 
ifled in any whole nation. It is to be feared the 
commonwealth %yould fuffer in moft countries: but 
admitting fo exalted an opinion of the patnotifm 
of any given country, it will flill remain true, that 
there will be differences of fentiment concerning 


The right Conftitu tion of a 

the good of the Commonwealth ; and the parties 
formed by thefc divifions, if uncontrolled, will 
have all the ill confequences that have been point^ 
ed out. The more fincerely parties love the re- 
public, with fo much the more ardour will they 
purfue their own notions of its good. Ariftotle's 
opinion, in the firft book of his Politics " Per 
" negligentiam mutatur flatus reipublicae, cum ad 
" poteftates affumuntur illi qui prefentem ftatum 
" non amant ; the form of a -commonwealth is 
44 then altered by negligence, when thofe men are 
4t taken into power who do not love the prefent 
" eftablifhment," may be well founded; and yet it 
may not follow that it is fafe to truft omnipotence 
to thofe who are well affe&ed, nay even to thofe 
who really love the common wealth above all other 
things, and prefer her good to their own, fince 
that character may change, and thofe virtues too 
may not be accompanied with fo many motives 
and fo many advantages of information, in what 
the good of the public confifls, as may be had in 
a divifion and mixture of powers. It is a good 
rule " to avoid thofe who hate the commonwealth, 
" and thofe who are neutral and indifferent about 
44 it;" and no doubt moft of the broils, tumults, 
and civil diflenfions, in free ftates, have been oc- 
cafioned by " the ambitious, treacherous, and in- 
" direct praftices of fuch perfons admitted into 
46 power, as have net been firm in their hearts to 
44 the interefts of liberty." But how fliall the 
people know whofe heart will ftand the trial, when 
Ib many people have been difappointecl before 
them? Rome is again quoted as an example; and 
the fenate are faid to have garbled, perplexed, and 
turmoiled the people's affairs, concernments, and 
understandings : but although this is true, it is 
equally fo that the people perplexed their own af- 

Commonwealth, examined. 3.87 

fairs, and thofe of the fenate too. You, who have 
pardoned already fo many digreflions, will eafily 
excufe another in this place. The words virtue 
and patriotifm might have been enumerated among 
thofe of various and uncertain figniflcation. Mon- 
tefquieu's Spirit of Laws is a very ufeful collec- 
tion of materials ; but is it too irreverent to fay 
that it is an unfinimed work*? He defines a re- 
publican government to be 44s that in which the 
44 body, or only a part of the people, is poffelfed 
44 ,of the fupreme power j." This agrees with 
Johnfon's definition, " aftate in w hich the govern - 
kfc ment is more than one." " When the body of 
44 the people," fays MontefquieuJ, " in a republic, 
44 are poffelfed of the fupreme power, this is called 
44 a democracy ; when the fupreme power is lodged 
44 in the hand of a part of the* people, it is then 
44 an arifbocracy." And again, 44 it is the na- 
44 ture of a republican government, that either the 
44 collective body of the people, or particular 
44 friends, fhould be poffeffed of the fovereign 
44 power. In a popular Hate, virtue is the necef- 
44 fary fpring of governmentj|. As virtue is ne- 
44 ceflary in a popular government, fb it is necef- 
44 fary alib under an ariflocracy. True it is, that 
44 in the latter it is not fo abfolutely requiflte." 
Does this writer mean that honour and fear, th 
former of which he calls the principle of monar- 
chy, and the latter of defpotifm, cannot exiit in a 
republic ? or that they are not necefTary ? Fear, 
furely, is neceiTary in a republican government : 
there can be no government without hopes and 
fears. Fear then, in truth, is at leail one principle 

* C'eft le ponefcuilje d'un homme, d'efprit, qui a eie jette 
par le fenetre et ramaffee par des lots, laid Voltaire, 
t Spirit of Laws, book ii. c. i. t B- ii- c - 2 - 

5 B. iii. c. 2. {j B iii. c. 3. 



The right Conftitution of a 

in every kind of government, in the fimpleft de- 
mocracy as well as the fimpleft defpotiim. This 
arrangement, fo exaft and iyftematical in appear- 
ance, and which has been celebrated as a difcovery 
of the principles of all government, is by no nie^ s 
fatisfaftory, fince virtue and honour cannot be ex- 
cluded from defpotifms, nor fear nor virtue from 
monarchies", nor fear nor honour from republics ; 
but at leail it is apparent that in a republic, confti- 
tuted as we propofe, the three principles of fear, 
honour, and virtue, unite and produce more union 
among the citizens, and give greater energy to the 
laws. But not to enlarge on this, let us proceed 
to the enquiry, what is virtue? It is not that claf- 
iical virtue which we iee perfonified in the choice 
of Hercules, and which the ancient philofophers 
fummed up in four words, prudence, jiiltice, tem- 
perance, and fortitude. It is not Chriflian virtue, 
fo much more fublime, which is fummarily com- 
prehended in univerfal benevolence. What is it 
then? According to Montefquieu*, it fhould 
feem to be merely a negative quality; the abience 
only of ambition and avarice : and he thinks that 
what he thus advances is confirmed by the unani- 
mous teftimony of hiftorians. But is this matter 
well confidered ? Look over the hiflory of any 
republic, and can you find a period in it, in which 
ambition and avarice do not appear in very flrong 
characters, and in which ambitious men were not 
the mod popular. In Athens, Piliftratus and his 
fucceflbrs were more popular, as well as ambitious, 
than Solon, Themiflocles than Ariflides, &c. In 
Rome, under the kings, the eternal plots of the 
nobles againft the lives of the kings, to ufurp their 
thrones, are proofs of an ardent and unbridled am- 
bition. Nay, if we attentively examine the mod 

* Book iii. c. 3. 


Commonwealth, examined. 4.89 

of an ardent ambition. The elder Brutus, Ca- 
millus, Regulus, Curius, ^Emilius, Cato, all diico- 
ver an ambition, a third of glory, as ftrong as that 
of Csefar : an honourable ambition, an ambition 
governed by juilice, if you will; but an ambition 
ftill. But there is not a period, in Athenian or Ro- 
man annals, when great characters did not appear 
actuated by ambition of another kind ; an unjuft 
and diflionourable ambition : fuch as Pififtratus, 
Themiftocles, Appius Claudius, Sec. and thefe 
characters were always more popular than the 
others, and were fupported chiefly by plebeians, 
not fenates and patricians. If the abfence of ava- 
rice is necefTary to republican virtue, can you find 
any age or country in which republican virtue has 
exifled? That fingle characters, or a few among 
the patricians, have exiftecl, who were exempt from 
avarice, has been already admitted ; but that a 
moment ever exilted, in any country, where pro- 
-perty was enjoyed, when the body of the people 
were univerfally or even generally exempted from 
avarice, is not eafy to prove. Every page of the 
hiflory of Pvome appears equally marked with am- 
bition and avarice; and the only difference appears 
in the means and obje&s. In fome periods the 
nation was extremely poor, in others immenfely 
rich ; but the paflions exiiled in all; and the Ro- 
man foldiers and common people were for ever 
quarrelling with their mod virtuous generals, for 
refilling to indulge their avarice, by dillributing 
the ipoils among them, and for loving the public 
too well, by putting the booty into the public trea- 
fury. Shall we fay then that republican virtue is 
nothing but Iimple poverty ; and that poverty 
alone can fupport fuch a government ? But Mon- 
VOL. III. 3 K tefcpieu 

49 o The right Constitution of a 

tefquieu tells us*, virtue in a republic, is a love 
of the republic ; virtue in a democracy, is love of 
the democracy : and why might he not have faid, 
that virtue in a monarchy, is a love of the monar- 
chy ; in a defpotifm, of the defpot ; in a mixed 
government, of the mixture? Men in general 
love their country and its government. Can it be 
proved that Athenians loved Athens, or Romans 
Rome, more than Frenchmen love France, or En- 
glifhmen their ifland ? There are two principal 
caufes of difcrimination. The firft is, the great - 
nefs or irnallnefs of the ftate. A citizen of a fm all 
republic, who knows every man and every houfe 
in it, appears generally to have the ftrongeft at- 
tachment to it, becaufe nothing can happen in it 
that does not interefl and affedl his feelings : but 
in a great nation, like France or England, a man 
is as it were loft in the crowd ; there are very 
few perfbns that he knows, and few events that 
will much affeft him ; yet you will find him as 
much attached to his circle of friends and know- 
ledge as the inhabitant of the fmall ftate. The 
fecond is, the goodnefs or badnefs of the conftitu- 
tion, the climate, foil, &c. Other things being 
equal, that conftitution, whofe bleilings are the 
moft felt, will be moft beloved ; and accordingly 
we find, that governments the beft ordered and ba- 
lanced have been moft beloved, as Sparta, Athens, 
Carthage, Rome, and England, and we might add 
Holland, for there has been, in practice and efFeft, 
a balance of three powers in tha^t country, though 
not fufficiently defined by law. Moral and Chrif- 
tian, and political virtue, cannot be too much be- 
loved, pra&ifed, or rewarded; but to place liberty 
on that foundation only would not be fafe: but 
* Book v. c. 2. 3. 


Commonwealth, examined. 491 

st may be well qneftionecl, whether love of the 
body politic is precifely moral or Chriftian vir- ' 
tue, which requires juftice and benevolence to 
enemies as well as friends, and -to other nations 
as well as our own. It is not true, in fat, that 
any people ever exifted who loved the public 
better than thernfelves, their private friends, 
neighbours, &c. and therefore this kind of virtue, 
this fort of love, is as precarious a foundation for 
liberty as honour or fear : it is the laws alone 
that really love the country, the public, the whole 
better than any part ; and that form of govern- 
ment which unites all the virtue, honour, and 
fear of the citiz-ens, in a reverence and obedience 
to the laws, is the only one in which liberty can 
be fecure, and all orders, and ranks, and parties, 
compelled to prefer the public good before their 
own ; that is the governmentfor which we plead. 
The firft magiftrate may love himfelf, and family, 
and friends, better than the public, but the laws, 
fupported by the fenate, commons, and judges, 
will not permit him to indulge it ; thefenatx: may 
love themlelves, their families, and friends, more 
than the public, but the firft magiftrate, com- 
mons, ami judges., uniting in fupport of public 
law, will defeat their projects ; the common peo- 
ple, or their reprefentatives, may love themfelves 
and partial connections better than the whole, but 
the firft raagiftrate, fenate, and judges, can fup- 
port the laws againft their enterprises ; the 
judges may be partial to men or factions, but the 
three branches of the legiflature, united to the 
executive, will eaflly bring them back to their 
duty. In this way, and in no other, can our .au- 
thor's rule be always observed, " to avoid all who 
" hate the commonwealth, and thofe who are 
" neutral and indifferent about it." 

4.91 The right Conftitution of a 

Montefquieu adds,* " a love of democracy is 
*' that of equality." But what paflion is this? 
Every man hates to have a fuperior, but no rrmi 
is willing to have an equal ; every man defires to 
be fuperior to all others. If the meaning is, that 
every citizen loves to have every other brought 
down to a level with himfelf, this is fo far true, 
but is not the whole truth : when every man is 
brought down to his level, he wifhes them de- 
prefled below him; and no man will ever acknow- 
ledge himfelf to be upon a level or equality with 
others, till they are brought down lower than 
him. Montefquieu fubjoins, " a love of the de- 
" mocracy is likewife that of frugality/' This is 
another paflion not eafilyto be found in human 
nature. A paflion for frugality, perhaps, never 
exifted in a nation, if it ever did in an indivi- 
dual. It is a virtue : but reafon and reffe&ioii 
prove the neceflity and utility of this virtue ; and 
after all, it is admired and cfteemed more than 
beloved. But to prove that nations, as bodies, 
are never actuated by any fuch paflion for fruga- 
lity, it is fufficient to- obferve, that no nation ever 
pra&ifed it but from neceflity. Poor nations 
only are frugal, rich ones always profuie ; except-, 
ing only fome few inftances, when the paflion of 
avarice has been artfully cultivated, and became 
the habitual national character : but the paflion of 
avarice is not a love of frugality. Is there, or is 
there not, any folid foundation for thefe doubts ? 
Ivluft we bow with reverence to this great mafter 
of laws, or inay we venture to fufpet that thefe 
doctrines of his are {pun from his imagination ? 
Before he delivered fo many grave leilons upon 
democracies, he would have done well to have 

* Spirit of. La \vs, book v. chap. 3. 


Commonwealth, examined. 

(ho ^vn when or where fuch government exifted. 
Until fome one ihall attempt this, one may ven- 
ture to fufpeft his love of equality, love of fru- 
gality, and love of the democracy, to be fantafti- 
cai .pa&ions, feigned for the regulation and ani- 
mation of a government that never had a more 
folid exiftence than the flying ifland of Lagado. 

Suppofe we fhould venture to advance the fol- 
lowing proportions, for further examination and 

1. No democracy ever did or can exift. 

2. If, however, it were admitted, for argu- 
ment lake, that a democracy ever did or can 
exift, no fuch paffion as a love of democracy, 
ftronger than felf-love, or fuperior to the love of 
private intcreft, ever did, or ever can, prevail in 
the minds of the citizens in general, nor of a ma- 
jority of them, nor in any party or individual of 

3. That if the citizens, or a majority of them, 
or any party or individual of them, in adtion and 
practice, preferred the public to his private intq- 
r.eft, ssmany undoubtedly would, it would not be 
from any fuch palfion as love of the democracy, 
but from reafon, confcience, a regard to juftice, 
and a fenfe of duty and moral obligation ; or elfe 
from a defire of fame, and the applaufe, gratitude, 
and rewards of the public. 

4. That no love of equality, at leaft fince 
Adam's fall, ever exifted in human nature, any 
otherwife than as a defire of bringing others down 
to our own level, which implies a defire of railing 
ourlelves above them, or depreliing them beloW 
us. That the real friends of equality are fuch 
from reflection, judgment, and a fenfe of duty, 
not from any paffion, natural or artificial. 

, 5. That no love of frugality ever exifted as a 


4.94 The right C on/lit ut ion of a 

pafHon, but always as a virtue, approved by deep 
and long reflection, as ufeful to individuals as well 
as the democracy, 

6. That therefore the democracy of Montef- 
quieu, and its principle of virtue, equality, fruga- 
lity, Sec. according to his definitions of them, are 
all mere figments of the brain, and delufivc im- 

7. That his paffion of love of the democracy 
would be, iu the members of the majority, only a 
love of the majority ; in thofe of the minority, 
only a love of the minority. 

8. That his love of equality would not even 
be pretended towards the members of the mino- 
rity, but the feinblance of it would only be kept 
up among the members of the majority. 

9. That the difthiction between nature and phi- 
lofophy is not enough attended to ; that nations 
are actuated by their paflions and prejudices; that 
very few, in any nation, are enlightened by philo- 
fbphy or religion enough to be at all times con* 
vinced that it is a duty to prefer the public to a 
private interefl, and fewer dill are moral, ho- 
nourable, or religious enough to practife fuch 

i o. Is not every one of thefe propofi tions proved 
beyond difpute, by all the hiflories in this and the 
preceding volumes, by all the other hiftories of 
the world, and by univerlal experience? 

n. That, in reality, the word democracy fig^ 
nifies nothing more nor lefs than a nation or peo- 
ple without any government at all, and before 
any conftitution is inilituted. 

1 2. That every attentive reader may perceive, 
that the notions of Montefquieu, concerning a 
democracy, are imaginations of his own, derived 
from the contemplation of the reveries ofXeno- 


Commonwealth, examined. 

phon and Plato, concerning equality of goods and 
community of wives and children, in their deli- 
rious ideas of a perfeft commonwealth. 

1 3, That fuch reveries may well be called de- 
lirious, iince, befides all the other arguments 
againft them, they would not extinguifli the fa- 
mily fpirit, or produce the equality propofed; 
becaufe, in fuch a (late of things, one man would 
have twenty wives, while another would have 
none, and one woman twenty lovers, while others 
would languifh in obfcurity, folitude, and celi- 

A third caution is, " that in all their elections 
u - of any into the fupreme court or council, they 
44 be not led by any bent of faction, alliance, or 
44 affection, and that none be taken in but purely 
" on the account of merit." This is the rule of 
virtue, wifdom, and juflice ; and if all the people 
were wife and juft they would follow it: but 
how (hall we make them fo, when the law of God, 
in nature and in revelation, has not yet effected 
it ? Harrington thinks, that advifing men to be 
mannerly at the public table, will not prevent 
fome from carving for themfelvcs the beft parts, 
and more than their (hares. Putting " men in au- 
44 thority who have a clear reputation of tran- 
44 fcendent honefty and wifdom, tends, no doubt, 
44 to filence gainfayers, and draw theconfent and 
44 approbation of all the world ;" but hov/ (ball 
we prevent fome from getting in, who are tran- 
fc^ndent only in craft, hypocrify, knavery, or fol- 
ly ? The bed way that can be conceived of, furely , 
is t,o feparate the executive power from the legif- 
lative, make it refponfible to one part of the legif- 
lature, on the impeachment of another, for the 
ufe of its power of appointment to offices, and 


496 The right Constitution of a 

to appoint two afTemhlies in the Icgiflaturc, that 
the errors of one may be corrected by the other. 

44 To avoid falfe charges, accufations, and ca- 
*' lumniations, againfl perfons in authority, which/ 
4t are the greatest abuies and blemifhes of liberty, 
" and have been the mod frequent caufes of tu- 
44 mult and diflenfion ;" though, it is the fecret 
ifc of libertv, that all magiftrates and public offi- 
44 cers be kept in an accountable ftate, liable to 
44 render an account of their behaviour and ac~ 
44 tions, and that the people have freedom to ac- 
44 cufewhom they pleafe." Difficult as it is to re- 
concile thefe necefTary rules in a free government, 
where an independent grand jury protects the re- 
putation of the innocent, and where a fenate judges 
of the accafations of the commons, how can it be 
done in a fimple democracy, where a powerful ma* 
jority, in a torrent of popularity, influences the 
appointment of grand and petit juries, as well as 
the opinion of the judges, and where a triumph- 
ant party in the legiflature is both accuicr and 
judge ? Is there not danger that an accufer be- 
longing to the minor party will be punifhed for 
calumniation, though his complaint is juft ; and 
that an accufed of the minor party will be found 
guilty, though innocent ; and an accufed of the 
major party acquitted, though guilty ? It is ridi- 
culous to hope that magiftrates and public officers 
will be really refponfible in fuch a government, or 
that calumniations will be difcountenanced except 
on one fide of the houfe. The oflracifms and pe- 
talifms of antiquity, however well intended againft 
iufpefted men, were foon perverted by party, and 
turned againfl the befl men and the leaf! fufpici- 
ous ; and in the fame manner it is obvious^ that 
refponfibility and calumniation in a fimple demo- 

Commonwealth, examined. 

cjracy will be mere inftruments in the bands of the 
majority, to be employed againft the beft men of 
an oppofite'party, and tofcreen the word in. their 
own. The Romans, by their caution to retain in 
full force and virtue that decree of the fenate, cal- 
led Turpitianum, whereby a fevere fine was fet on 
the heads of all calumniators and falfe accufers, 
at the fame time that they retained the freedom 
of keeping all perfons accountable, and accufing 
whom they pleafed, although they preferved 
their '(late a long time from usurpation of men 
in power on one fide, fend from popular clamour 
and tumult on the other "fide, we mufl remember 
had a fenate to check the people, as well as to be 
checked by them ; and yet even this mixture did 
not prevent the Gracchi, Marius, Sylla, and Cx- 
far, from ufurping, nor the people from being 
tumultuous, as loon as they obtained even an 
equality with the fenate: fo that their example 
cannot convince us that either of thefe rules can 
be obferved in a fimple democracy ; on the con- 
trary, it is a proof that the more perfect the ba- 
lance of power, the more exa&ly both thefe ne- 
ce(Fary rules may be obferved. 

A fifth caution is, " that as by all means they 
" fhould beware of ingratitude and unhandfome 
%t returns to fucli as have done eminent fervices 
.*' for the common wealth, fo it concerns them-, for 
" the public peace and fecurity, not to impofe a. 
..-' truft in the hands of any perfon or perfonc, 
" further than as they may take it back again at 
:v jfteafiire. The reafori is, honores mutant mo- 
%i res. AccelTions and continuations of power 
" expofe the mind to temptations; they are f aits 
> ; too big for any bulk of mortality to fleer an 
k< even courie by." How is this cpnfifteot wifii 

'VOL. III. 3 S ' wh'ac 

fo right Conftitution of a 

what is faid under the head of the fecond cau- 
tion P " In the hands o'f fuch as have appeared 
46 moil eminent and aUve in the eftablifhment 
" and Jove of liberty, the guardianfhip of liberty 
u may be fafely placed, becaufe fuch men have 
" made the public intereft and their own all one, 
'* and therefore will never betray nor defert it, 
*' in profperity or adverfity." In ftiort, our au- 
thor inculcates a confidence and diffidence at the 
fame time that feem irreconcileable. Under this 
head he is diffident. " The kingdoms of the 
<; world are baits that feldom fail : none but he 
** that was more than man could have refilled 
44 them. How many free Hates, by trading their 
46 own fervants too far, have been forced to re- 
^ ceive them as maflers ! Immoderate power 
** lets in high thoughts. The fpirit of ambition 
44 is a fpirit of giddinefs : it foxes men, makes 
** them drunk, mere fots, non compos mentis, 
'* hurried on without fear or wit. All tempta- 
** tions and opportunities of ambition mud be re- 
4 * moved, or there will arife a neceflity of tumult 
*' and civil dlfTenfion; the common confequence 
44 hath ever been a ruin of the public freedom." 
How is it poOTible for a man who thinks in this 
manner to propofe his " Right Conftitution," 
where the whole authority being in one reprefen- 
tative aiTemble, the utmoft latitude, temptation, 
and opportunity, is given to private ambition? 
Wlu has a rich and ambitious man to do, but 
ftand candidate for an eletion in a town where he 
has many relations, much property, numerous de- 
pendants? There can be no difficulty in getting 
choien. When once in, he has a vote in the dif- 
pofal of every office, the appointment of every 
judge, and the diftribution of all the public mo- 
ney. May not he and others join together to vote 


Commonwealth, examined. 4.99 

for fuch as will vote for them? A man once in, 
has twice as much power to get in again at the 
next election, and every day adds acceflions, accu- 
mulations, and continuations of power to him. 
** Caefar, who firft took arms upon the public 
" fcore, and became the people's leader, letting 
* 6 in ambitious thoughts, forfook his friends and 
" principles, and became another man, and turned 
*' his arms upon the public liberty." And has not 
every nation, and city, and affembly, many Csfars 
in it ? When private men look to the people for 
public offices and commands, that is, when the 
people claim the executive power, they will at firil 
be courted, then deceived, and then betrayed. 
Thus did Sylla ferve the fenate, and Marius the 
people; thus every fim pie government is ferved: 
but where the executive appoints, and the Icgifla* 
tive pay, it is otherwife; where one branch of a 
legiflative can accufe, and another condemn, where 
both branches of Jegiflature can accufe before the 
executive, private commanders mnft always have 
a care they may be difarmed in an inftant. 
Pififtratus, Agathocles, Cofmos, Soderino, Sava- 
narola, Caftruccio, and Orange, all quoted by our 
author, are all examples in point to (hew, that fim- 
ple democracies and unbalanced mixtures can ne- 
ver take a trufl back again, when once committed 
to an ambitious commander. That this caution 
therefore may be obierved, and trufl taken back 
at pleafure when ill managed, or in danger of be- 
ing fo, no government is equal to the tripartite 

The ninth rule is, " that it be made an unpar- 
" donable crime to incur the guilt of trcalbii 
*' againfl the intereft and majefly of the people. 
"It was treafon in Brutus's ions to confpire the 

** rcil oral ion 

500 . The right Constitution of a 

44 rdloration of Tarquin." So their father judged 
it, but it was the intereft and majefty of the fenate 
' here that was held to be the intereft and majefty 
of the people. The treafon of Melius and Man- 
lius too was again ft the majefty of the fenate, and 
ui favour of the majefty of the people. The trea- 
fon of the Decemviri too was againfl: the fenate, 
and fo was that of Caefar. In Venice too it is trea- 
fon to think of confpiring with the people againft. 
the ariftocracy, as much as it was in Rome. It- 
is treafon to betray fecrets both in Venice and in 
Home; the guilty were hanged upon a gibbet, or 
burnt alive. 

No doubt a fi'mple democracy would make it 
treafon to introduce an ariftocracy or a monarchy ;' 
but Jiow could they punifh it, when the man who 
commits it has the army, the judges, the bifiiops, 
and a majority of the affembly and people too t 
his devotion? How can fecrecy in a iimple demo- 
cracy be kept, where the numbers are fo great, 
and where constituents can call to account P or how 
can it be punifhed, when betrayed, when fo many 
will betray it; when a member of the majority 
betrays it, to ferve the caufe of the majority ? <; It 
4i is treafon in Venice fora fenator to receive gifts 
4i or penfions from a foreign prince or ftate." But 
ns, according to the heathen proverb, " the Gods 
44 themfelves may be taken with gifts," how can 1 
you prevent them from being* taken by the ma- 
jority in a fimple democracy ? Thuanus, who 
lays, t4 the king of France need not ufe much Ja- 
41 bour to purchafe an intereft with any prince or 
" ftate of Italy, unlels it be the Venetian repub- 
" lie, where all foreign ptrnfioners and compli- 
44 ancesare punifhed with tile utmofLfeverity, but 
*> efcape well enough in other places," might have 
added, that no difficulty would ever be found to' 


Commonwealth, examined. ' 501 

purchafe an intereft in a fimple democracy, or in 
any other fimple vmcontrouled aiTemlbly. In a 
fimple democracy no great fum would be required 
to purchafe elections for proper inftruments, or 
to purchafethe fuffrages of fome already in their 
feats. A party pardons many crimes, as well as 
JefTer faults. " It is treafon for any Venetian fe- 
" nator to'have any private conference with fo- 
" reign ambafTadors and agents ; and one article 
" of charge, which took off Barnevelfsbead, was 
" that he held familiarity and converfe with the 
" Spanim ambaffador in timeof war." Although 
receiving bribes from foreign ambafTaclors ought 
to be punifhed with .'the utmoft feverity, and all 
uncommon familiarity with them avoided as fuf- 
picious and difhonourable, fuch extremes as theic 
of Venice and of Holland, in the cafe of Barne- 
velt, may as well be avoided. But in a fimple de- 
mocracy, it will be found next to impoflible to 
prevent foreign powers from making a party, and 
purchafing an intereil : an ambaiTador will have 
a right to treat with all the members, as parts of 
tlie ibvereignty, and therefore may have accefs to 
thofe who are lead on their guard, and mod eafily 
corrupted. But in a mixed government, where 
the executive is by itfelf, the minifters only can 
be purcbafed, who, being few, are more eafily 
watched and puhiftied ; befides that it is the exe- 
cutive power only that is managed by minifters ; 
and this often cannot be completed but by the 
concurrence of the legiflatufe. The difficulties of 
corrupting fuch a government therefore are much 
greater, as both the legiflative, executive, and ju- 
dicial power, muft be all infecled, or there will 
be danger of detection and punifhment. 



Grofvenor-Square, Dec. 26, 1787. 

Dear Sir, 

IT fhould have been before obferved, that the 
Weftern empire fell in the fifth century, and 
the Eaftern in the fifteenth. 

Auguftnius was compelled by Odoacer, king of 
the Heruli, in 4.75, to abdicate the Weftern em- 
pire, and vvas the laft Roman who pofTefled the 
Imperial dignity at Rome. The dominion of Italy 
fell, loon afterwards, into the hands of Theodoric 
the Goth. The Eaftern empire lafted many cen- 
turies afterwards, till it was annihilated by Ma* 
hornet the Great, andConftantinople was taken in 
the year 14.53. ^^ e initial bet ween the fall of 
thefe two empires, making a period of about a 
thoufand years, is called THE MIDDLE AGE.* 
During this term republics without number arofe 
in Italy; whirled upon their axles or fingle cen* 
tres ; foamed, raged, and burft, like fo many wa-* 
ter-fpouts upon the ocean. They were all alike 
ill-conftituted ; all alike miferable : and all ended 
in fimilar difgrace and defpotifm. It would be 
curious to purfue ourfubjed through all of them 
whofe records havcfurvivcd the ravages of Goths, 
Saracens, and bigot ted Chriftians ; through thofe 
other republics of Caftile, Arragon, Catalonia, 
Gallicia, and all the others in Spain ; through 
thofe in Portugal ; through the feveraJ provinces 

* Barbeyrac's Preface to his Hiftory of Ancient Treaties. 
Corps Dipl. torn, jxxii. Harris's Philological Enquiries, 
part iii. chap. i. 


I 503 ] 

that now compofe thekingdom of France; through 
thofein Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, 
England, Scotland, Ireland, c. But if fuch a 
work mould be fufficiently encouraged by the 
public (which is not probable, for mankind in ge- 
neral dare not as yet read or think upon CONSTI- 
TUTIONS) it is too cxtenfive for my forces, and 
ought not to be done in fo much hade. The pre- 
ceding Letters have been produced upon thelpur 
of a particular occafion, which made it neceflary 
to write and publifh with precipitation, or it might 
have been nfelefs to have publifhed at all. The 
whole has been done in. the midft of other occu- 
pations, in fo much hurry, that fcarce a moment 
could be fpared to correct the ftyle, adjufl the 
method, pare off excrefcences, or even obliterate 
repetitions ; in all which refpe&s it (lands in 
need of an apology. Ton may purfue the invefti- 
gatien to any length you pleafe. All nations, 
from the beginning have been agitated by the 
fame paffions. The principles developed in thefe 
Letters will go a great way in explaining every 
phenomenon that occurs in the hiffory of govern- 
ment. The vegetable and animal kingdoms, and 
thofe heavenly bodies whofe exiftence and move- 
ments we are as yet only permitted faintly to 
perceive, do not appear to be governed by Jaws 
more uniform or certain than thofe which regu- 
late the moral and political world. Nations move 
by unalterable rules : and education, difcipline and 
laws, make the greateft difference in their accom- 
plifhments, happinefs, and perfection. It rs the 
matter artift alone who finifhes his building, his 
pidture, or his clock. The prefent actors on the 
ftage have been too little prepared by their early 
views, and too much occupied with turbulent 
fcenes, to do more than they have done : impar. 


[ 59 ] 

tial juftice will confefs, that it is aftonifliing they 
have been able to do fo much. It is for you and 
your youthful companions, to make yourfelves 
matters of what your prcdecelfors have been able 
to comprehend and accovnplifh but imperfectly. 
A profpect into futurity in Americans like con- 
templating the heavens through the telefcopes of 
Herichell : objects, flupendous in their magni- 
tudes and motions, ftrike us from all quarters, 
and fill us with amazement ! When we recoiled, 
that the wifdom or the folly, the virtue or the 
vice, the liberty or fervitude, of thofe millions 
now beheld by us, only as Columbus faw thefe 
times in vifion,* are certainly to be influenced, 
perhaps decided, by the manners, examples, prin- 
ciples, and political inftitutions of the prefent. 
generation, that mind muft be hardened into ftone 
that is not melted into reverence and awe. With 
fuch affefting icenes before his eyes, is there, can 
there be, a young American indolent and incuri- 
ous ; furrenciered up to diffipation and frivolity ; 
vain of imitating the loofefl manners of coun- 
. tries, which can never be made much better or 
much worfe ? A profligate American youth muft 
be profligate indeed, and richly merits the fcora 
of all mankind. 

The world has been too long abnfed with no- 
tions, that climate and foil decide the characters 
and political inftitutions of nations. The laws of 
Solon, and the defpotifm of Mahomet, have at 
different times prevailed at Athens : confuls, em- 
perors, and pontiffs, have ruled at Rome. Can 
there be defired a ftrongcr proof, that policy and 
education are able to triumph over every dii* 
advantage of climate ? Mankind have been (till 

* Barlow's Vifion of Columbus. 


C 505 ] 

more injured by inflnuatians, that a certain celef- 
tial virtue, more than human, has been neceflary 
to preferve liberty. Happinefs, whether in defpo- 
til'in or democracy, whether in flavery or liberty, 
can never be found without virtue. The bed re- 
publics will be virtuous, and have been fo ; but 
we may hazard a conjedhire, that the virtues-have 
been the effeft of the well-ordered confutation, 
rather than the caufe : and perhaps it Would be 
impoffible to prove, that a republic cannot exift, 
even among highwaymen, by letting one rogue 
to watch another; and the knaves themfelves may, 
in time, be made honeft men by the itruggle. 

It is now in our power to bring this work to a 
conclufion with unexpected dignity. In the courfe 
of the laftiummer, two authorities have appeared, 
greater than any that have been before quoted, in 
which the principles we have attempted to defend 
have been acknowledged. The firft is an Ordi- 
nance of Congrefs, of the igth of July 1787, for 
the Government of the Territory of the United 
States North-weft of the River Ohio; the fecond 
is, the Report of the Convention at Philadelphia, 
of the 1 7th of September 1787. The former con- 
federation of the United States was formed upon 
the model and example of all the confederacies, 
ancient and modern, in which the fcederal coun- 
cil was only a diplomatic body : even the Lycian, 
which is thought to have been the beft, was no 
more. The magnitude of territory, the' popu- 
lation, the wealth and commerce, and efpecially 
the rapid growth of the United States, have fhewn 
iuch a government to be inadequate to their 
wants; and the new fy item, which feems ad- 
mirably calculated to unite their interefls and af- 
fections, and bring them to an uniformity of prin- 
ciples and ientiments, is equally well combined to 

VOL. III. 3 T unite 

I 506 ) 

unite their wills and forces as a Tingle nation. A. 
refult of accommodation cannot be fuppofed to 
reach the ideas of perfection of any one ; but the 
conception of fbch an idea, and the deliberate 
union of fo great and various a people in fuch a 
plan, is, without all partiality or prejudice, if not 
the greateft exertion of human underftanding, the 
greateft fingle effort of national deliberation that 
the world has ever feen. That it may be im- 
proved is not to be doubted, and provifion is 
made for that purpofe in the Report itfelf. A 
people who could conceive, and can adopt it, we 
need not fear will be able to amend it, when, by 
experience, its inconveniences and imperfections 
fhall be feen and felt. 

C 07 ] 

WE, the People of the United States, in 
order to form a more perfect Union, efta- 
blifh Juflice, infure domeftic Tranquillity, 
provide for the common Defence, pro- 
mote the general Welfare, and fecure the 
Bleffings of Liberty to ourfelves and our 
Pofterity, do ordain and eftablifh this 
CONSTITUTION for the United States 0f 


Serf. i. A LL legiflative powers herein grant' 
jfX ed mall be veflcd in a Congrefs of 
the United States, which fhall confifl of a Senate 
and Houfe of Reprefentatives. 

Bed. 2. The Houfe of Reprefentatives (hall be 
compofed of members chofen every iecond year by 
the people of the feveral flates, and the electors 
in each ilate fhall have the qualifications requifite 
for electors of the mod numerous branch of the 
flate legiflature. 

No perfon fhall be a reprefentative who fhall 
not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, 
and been {even years a citizen of the Unite4 
States, and who (hall not, when ele&ed, be an in- 
habitant of that ftate in which he fhall be 

Reprefentatives and diredt taxes fhall be ap- 
portioned among the feveral flates which maybe 
included within this Union, according to their re- 



fpe&ive numbers, which (hall be determined by 
adding to the whole number of free perfons, in- 
cluding thofe bound tofervicefor a term of years, 
and excluding Indians not taxed, three -fifths of all 
other perfons. The actual enumeration fhall be 
made within ihree yeafs after the firft meeting of 
the Congrefs of the United States, and within 
every fubfequent term often years, in fuch- man- 
ner as they fhall by law direft. The number of 
reprcfentatives (hall not exceed one for every 
thirty thoufand, but each ftate fhall have at leaft 
one r^prefentative ; and until fuch enumeration 
fhall be made, the flate of NewHampfhire fhall 
be entitled to chufe three, MafFachufetts eight,, 
Rhode-Ifland an4 Providence Plantations one, 
Conne&icut five, New York fix, New Jerfey four, 
Pennfylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland fix, 
Virginia ten, North-Carolina five, SoiUh-Car6lina 
five, and Georgia three. 

, When vacancies happen in the reprefentation 
from any ftatc r the. Executive authority thereof 
fhall ifTue writs of cleft ion to fill fuch vacancies, 
; The Houfe of Reprefentatives (hall chufe their 
Speaker and other officers .; and fhall have thefolc 
power of impeachment. , ; -.. i 

Sett. 3. The Senate of the United States dial! 
be compofed of two fenators from each ilate, cho> 
fe-il by the kgiflature thereof, for fix years ; and 
each fenator. fhall have one vote. : &..' 

Immediately after they fliall be afTembled in 
ccnlequence of the firft. election, they fhall be di- 
vided as equally as may be Into three clafTes. The 
feats of the fenators of the firft clafs fliall be vacated 
at the expiration, of thefecond year, of the fccond 
clals at the expiration of the fourth year, and of 
the third clafs at the expiration of the fixth year, 
fb that one- third may be chofen every fecond year; 


C 59 1 , 

and if vacancies happen by refignation, or other- 
wile, during the recefs of the legiflature of any 
ftate, the Executive thereof may make temporary 
appointments until the next meeting of the legif- 
lature, which fhall then fill fuch vacancies. 

No perfon fhall be a feriator who mall not have 
attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine 
years a citizen of the United States, and who (hall 
not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that ftate 
for which he fhall be choien. 

The Vice-Prefrdent of the United States (hall 
be Preiident of the Senate, but mall have no Vote, 
unlefs they be equally divided. 

The lenate fhall chufe their other officers, and 
alfo a Prefident pro tempore, in the abfence of the 
Vice-Prefident,orwhen he fhall exercife the office 
of Prefident of the United States. 

The Senate fhall have the fole power to try all 
impeachments. When fitting for that purpofe, 
they fhall be on oath or affirmation. When the 
Prefident of the United States is tried, the Chief 
Juftice fhall preflde : And no perfon fhall be con- 
vifted without the concurrence of two- thirds of 
the members prefent. 

Judgment in cafes of impeachment (hall not 
extent further than removal from office, and dif- 
qualification to hold and enjoy any office qf ho- 
nour, truft, or profit, under the United States ; 
but the party convicted fhall neverthelefs be liable 
and fubjeftto indictment, trial,judgment, and pu- 
riifliment, according to law. 

Setf. 4. The times, places, and manner of 
holding elections for fenators and reprefentatives, 
fhall be prefcribed in each ftate by the legiflature 
thereof : but the Congrefs may at any time by law 
make or alter fuch regulations ? except as to the 
places of choofing Senators. 


C 5" 3 

The Congrefs (hall affemble at leaft once in 
every year, and fuch meeting mall be on the firft 
Monday m December, unlefs they mall by law ap- 
point a different day. 

Sec. 5. Each houfe fhall be the judge of the 
elections, returns, and qualifications of its own 
members, and a majority of each fhall conftitute 
a quorum to do bufiuefs ; but a fmaller number 
may adjourn from Jay to day, and may be autho- 
rifed to compel the attendance of abfent members, 
in fuch manner, and under fuch penalties, as each 
houfe may provide. 

Each houfe may determine the rules of its pro- 
ceedings, punifa its members for diforderly beha-^ 
viour, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, 
expel a member. 

Each houfe fhall keep .a journal of its proceed- 
ings, and from time t/Sp^time publifh the fame, ex- 
cepting fuch parts as may in their judgment re- 
quire fecrecy ; and the Yeas and Nays of the mem- 
bers of either houfe on any queftion fhall, at the 
defire of one-fifth of thofe prefent, be entered on 
the journal. 

Neither houfe, during the feffion of Congrefs, 
(hall, without the confent of the other, adjourn 
for more than three days, nor to any other place 
than that m which the two houfes fhall be fitting. 

Setf. 6. The fenators and reprefenta lives fhall 
receive a compenfation for their fervices, to be 
aicertained by law, and paid out of the trealury of 
the United States. They fhall in all cafes, except 
treaibn, felony, and breach of the peace, be privi- 
leged from arreft during their attendance at the 
(effion of their refpective houfes, and in going to 
and returning from the fame ; and for any fpeechor 


C 5" ] 

debate in either houfe, they (hall notbe quefiioncd 
in any other place. 

No fenator or reprefentative fhall, during the 
time for which he was eledted, be appointed to any 
civil office under the authority of the United 
States, which {hall have been created, or the emo- 
luments whereof fhall have been encreafed during 
fuch time ; and no perfon holding any office under 
the United States, fhall be a member of either 
houfe during his continuance in office. 

7. All bills for raifing revenue (hall ori- 
ginate in the Houfe of Reprefentatives ; but the 
Senate may propofe or concur with amendments 
as on other bills. 

Every bill which fliall have patted the Houfe of 
Reprefentatives and the Senate, fhaJl, before it be- 
comes a law, be prefented to the Prefident of the 
United States ; if he approve he fhall fign it, but 
if not he fhall return it, with his objections, to 
that houfe in which it fhall have originated, who 
fhall enter the objections at large on their journal, 
and proceed to reconfider it; If, after fuch re-con- 
fideration, two-thirds of that houfe fhall agree to 
pafs the bfll, it fhall be fent, together with the 
objections, to the other houfe, by which it fhall 
likewife be re-confidered, and if approved by two 
thirds of that houfe, it fhall become a law. But in 
all fuch cafes the votes of both houfes fhall be 
determined by Yeas and Nays, and the names of 
the perfons voting for and again ft the bill fhall bt 
entered on the journal of each houfe refpeCtively, 
If any bill fhall not be returned by the Prefidenf 
within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it fhali 
have been prefented to him, the fame fnall be a 
law, in like manner as if he had figned it, unlefs 


[ 5'4 ] 

ftitution in the government of the United States^ 
or in any department or officer thereof. 

Sefi. 9. The migration or importation of fuch 
perfons as any of the dates now exifting {hall think 
proper to admit, (hall not be prohibited by the 
Congrefs prior to the year onethoufand eight hun- 
dred and eight, but a tax or duty may be impofed 
on fuch importation, not exceeding ten dollars for I 
each perfon. 

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus fliall 
not be fufperided, unlefs when in cafes of rebellion 
or irivafi-on the public fafety may require it. 

No bill of attainder or ex poft fatfo law (hall be 

No capitation, or other dired: tax {hall be laid, 
unleis in proportion to the cenjus or enumeration 
herein before directed to be taken. 

No tax or duty {hall be laid on articles ex- 
ported from any ftate. No preference mall be 
given by any regulation of commerce or revenue 
to the ports of one ftate over thofe of another ; 
nor {hall veffels bound to, or from one ftate, 
be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in 

No money mail be drawn from the treafury, but 
in confequence of 'appropriations made by law ; 
and a regulai-ftatement and account of the receipts 
and expenditures of all public money {hall be pub- 
limed from time to time. 

No title of nobility fhall be granted by the 
United States : Arid no perfon holding any office 
of profit or truft under them, mall, without the 
content of the Congrefs, accept of any prefent, 
emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever 
from any king, prince, or foreign ftate. 

C 5*5 ] 

Setf. ro. No ftate fhall enter into any treaty, 
alliance, or confederation ; grant letters of marque 
and reprifal ; coin money ; emit bills of credit ; 
make any thing but gold and filver coin a tender 
in payment of debts ; pafs any bill of attainder, ex 
poft fatfolwf) or law impairing the obligation of 
contra&s^ or grant any title of nobility. 

No ftate fhall, without the confent of the Con- 
grefs, lay any impofts or duties on imports or ex- 
ports, except what may be abfolutely necefTary 
for executing its infpeftion laws ; and the net pro- 
duce of all duties and impofts, laid by any ftate on 
imports or exports, fhall be for the ufe of the 
Treafury of the United States ; and all fuch laws 
fhall be fubjeft to the revifion and controul of the 
Congress. No ftate fhall, without the confent of 
Cc...grefs,lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops or 
fliipsof war in time of peace, enter into any agree- 
ment or compadi; with another ftate, or with a 
foreign power, or engage in war, unlefs aftually 
invaded, or in fuch imminent danger as will not 
admit of delay. 


Setf. i. The executive power mall be vefted 
in a*Preiident of the United tates of America. 
He fhall hold his office during the term of 
four years, and, together with the vice-Prefi- 
dent, chofen for the lame term, be eleded as 
follows : 

Each ftate fhall appoint, in fuch manner as the 
legiflature thereof may direft, a number of elec- 
tors, equal to the whole number of fenators and 
reprefentatives to which the ftate may be entitled 
in\Ue Congreis : but no fenator or reprefentative 



or pcrfon holding an office of truft or profit 
under the United States, (hall be appointed an 

The electors {hall meet in their refpe&ive dates 
and vote by ballot for two perfons, of whom one 
at leaft fhall not be an inhabitant of the fame ftate 
with themfelves. And they fhall make a lift of all 
the perfons voted for, and of the number of votes 
for each ; which lift they fhall fign and certify, 
and tranfmit fealed to the feat of the government 
of the United States, directed to the Prefident of 
the Senate. The Prefident of the Senate fhalJ, in 
the prefence of the Senate and Houfe of Repi e- 
fentatives, open all the certificates, and the votes 
lhall then be counted. The perfon having the 
greateft number of votes fhall be the Prefident, if 
fuch number be a majority of the whole number 
of electors appointed ; and if there be more than 
one who have fuch majority, and have an equal 
number of votes, then the Houfe of Reprefenta- 
tives fhall immediately chufe by ballot one of them 
for Prefident ; and if no perfon have a majori- 
ty, then from the five higheft on the lift the faid 
Houfe fhall in like manner chufc the Prefident. 
But in chufing the Prefident, the votes mall 
be taken by ftates, the reprefentation from 
each ftate having one vote ; a quorum for* this 
purpofe fhall confift of a member or members 
from two-thirds of the ftates, and a majority of all 
the ftates fhall be necefTary to a choice. In every 
cafe, after the choice of the Prefident, the perfon 
having the greateft number of votes of the ele&ors 
fhall be the Vice- Prefident. But if there mould 
remain two or more who have equal votes, the 
Senate fhall chufe from them by ballot the Vice- 


5'7 ] 

The Congrefs may determine the time of chuf- 
ing the electors, and the day on which they mall 
give their votes; which day mall be the fame 
throughout the United States. 

No perfon, except a natural born citizen, or a 
citizen' of the United States at the time of the 
adoption of this conflitution, (ball be eligible to 
the office of Prefident; neither (hall any per- 
fon be eligible to that office who (hall not have 
attained to the age of thirty -five years, and been 
fourteen years a refident within the United States. 

In cafe of the removal of the Prefident from 
office, or of his death, refignation, or inability to 
difcharge the powers and duties of the faid office, 
the fame (hall devolve on the Vice-Prefident, and 
the Congrefs may by law provide for the cafe of 
removal, death, refignation, or inability, both of 
the Prefident and Vice Prefident, declaring what 
officer fhall then aft as Prefident, and fuch officer 
/hail aft accordingly, until the disability be re- 
moved, or a Prefident fhall be elefted. 

The Prefident fhall, at ftated times, receive for 
his fervices a compenfatlon, which fhall neither 
be encreafed nor dimibifhed during the peviod 
for which he fhall have been elefted, and he fhall 
not receive within that period any other emolu- 
ment from the United States, or any of them. 

Before he enter on the execution of his office, 
he fhall take the following oath or affirmation : 

" I do folemnly fwear (or affirm) that I will 
" faithfully execute the office of Prefident of the 
44 United States, and will, to the beft of my abili- 
ik ty, preferve, proteft, and defend the conftitu- 
44 tion of the United States.'' 

Setf. 2. The Prefident fhall be commander in 
chief or the army and navy of the United States, 



and, of the militia of the feveral dates when called 
into the aftual fervice of the United States : lie 
may require the opinion in writing of the princi- 
pal officer in each of the executive departments, 
upon any fubjet relating to the duties of their 
refpective offices, and he (hall have power to 
grant reprieves and pardons for offences againft the 
United States, except in cafes of impeachment. 

He (hall have power, by and with the advice 
and confent of the Senate, to make treaties, pro- 
vided two-thirds of the Senators prefent concur ; 
and he mall nominate, and by and with the advice 
and confent of the Senate, (hall appoint ambafTa- 
dors, other public minifters and confuls, judges 
of the fupreme court, and all other officers of the 
United States, whofe appointments are not herein 
otherwife provided for, and which fhall be efla- 
blifhed by law. But the Congrefs may by Jaw 
veil the appointment of fuch inferior officers, as 
they think proper, in the Prefldent alone, in the 
courts of law, or in the heads of departments. 

The Prefident mail have power to fill up all 
vacancies that may happen during the recefs of 
the Senate, by granting commiffions which mail 
expire at the end of their next fedion. 

Setf. g. He (hall from time to time give to the 
Congreis information of the flate of the Union, 
and recommend to their consideration fuch mea- 
fures as he (hall judgeneceffary and expedient ; he 
may, on extraordinary occafions, convene both 
houfes, or either of them, and in cafe of diiagree- 
ment between them, with refpet to the time of 
adjournment, he may adjourn them to fuch 
time as he {hall think proper : he mall re- 
ceive ambafTadors and other public minifters ; he 
(hall take care that the Jaws be faithfull